US carrier Delta Air Lines has deferred its decision to furlough nearly 2,000 pilots until 1 November.

Last month, Delta Air Lines unveiled plans to furlough 1,941 of its pilots in October unless a cost-cutting agreement is reached with the employees’ labour union.

In a memo to pilots, Delta flight operations senior vice-president John Laughter was quoted by CNBC as saying: “While we’re also watching the progress of the possible CARES Act extension, it is important that we reach an agreement now that spreads the work of approximately 12,000 active pilots across a network schedule that in Summer 2021 only requires about 9,500 pilots to fly it.

“The recovery won’t be over in six months, so sharing the available work is the only way to avoid furloughs altogether.”

Last week, Delta and the pilots’ union provisionally agreed to further reduce the furlough numbers by 220 pilots to a total of 1,721.

Meanwhile, US Senators Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced the Air Carrier Worker Support Extension Act of 2020.

The legislation would extend the airline worker Payroll Support Program (PSP) through 31 March 2021.

It will also provide $28bn in assistance for passenger and cargo air carriers, as well as airline contractors.

In a statement, ALPA said: “For the tens of thousands of airline workers who have already received furlough notices starting on 1 October, an extension of the CARES Act Payroll Support Program is necessary to keep them from being put out on the streets and in the unemployment line.

“As the world’s largest airline pilot union, ALPA members, along with our families, friends, and the flying public, have been strongly advocating for a clean extension of this vital funding package.”

Last month, American low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines’ pilots and management entered an agreement to avoid furloughs, thereby avoiding 600 pilots from potential furloughs.