A Delta Airlines ground crew employee finishes the push-back of an outbound flight. Delta Air Lines said it plans to slash flight capacity by 10 percent in 2009 in the face of the global recession and rising fuel prices. Source: AFP

A Delta Airlines ground crew employee finishes the push-back of an outbound flight. Delta Air Lines said it plans to slash flight capacity by 10 percent in 2009 in the face of the global recession and rising fuel prices. Source: AFP

WASHINGTON: Delta Air Lines said Thursday it plans to slash flight capacity by 10 percent in 2009 in the face of the global recession and rising fuel prices.

The US airline, the world's largest in terms of traffic, said in a memo to its more than 70,000 employees worldwide that it was forced to reduce capacity to cope with a sharp decline in air travel amid the recession that was exacerbated by surging jet fuel prices.

Delta said it would cut overall flight capacity by 10 percent compared with 2008, and slash an additional five percent of international capacity on top of a previously announced cutback of 10 percent.

The Atlanta, Georgia-based airline said the capacity reductions would begin in September.