US - Delta Air Lines' retirees have expressed their support for the Employee Pension Preservation Act of 2005 (EPPA), which has been designed to protect pensions of airline employees and address large pension funding problems which threaten the industry's restructuring.
Patricia Malone, an advisory board member for the Delta Pioneers, said: The Employee Pension Preservation Act of 2005 will not only help Delta, it will help protect pensions of all airline employees. For many of us, our entire income is predicated upon Social Security and our Delta pensions.
This legislation will help Delta deliver the retirement benefits employees have earned and avoid passing its unfunded pension liability to the federal government.
Cathy Cone, chairman of the DALRC Retirement Committee, a group that represents more than 5,000 of the company's retirees added: The bill will give Delta a more sensible schedule for the payment of pension obligations, allowing the company to honour the pension benefits employees and retirees have already earned. We join with Delta, other Delta retiree groups, the Air Line Pilots Association and Northwest Airlines in our support of this and similar legislation in the House of Representatives.
Delta and other airlines have substantial pension payments due over the next four years. These payments have the potential to severely affect Delta's cash position.
EPPA would allow Delta and other airlines to make payments to its pension plan over a 25-year period, rather than the current five-year timeline. With bankrupt airlines terminating their pension plans entirely and the industry transitioning away from defined-benefit plans, Delta is asking Congress for help to ensure that the benefits people earned will be paid.
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