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Delta Air Lines

(DAL) - Get Delta Air Lines Inc. Report

is asking its pilots for help again.

The struggling airline, which is reportedly preparing to file for bankruptcy protection, presented negotiators for its pilots' union a "deeply concessionary" contract proposal Monday, according to a message the union posted on its Web site.

Leaders of Delta's arm of the Air Line Pilots Association will consider the request next Monday and decide whether to instruct negotiators to begin talks with the airline.

An airline representative confirmed Delta is targeting cost savings from pilots that are seen as necessary to "address the severe financial challenges that the company and its employees are facing." The representative declined to provide details. The company won't comment on reports it's preparing a Chapter 11 filing.

Delta, the nation's third-biggest airline by traffic, barely averted bankruptcy late last year with the help of its pilots, who accepted concessions worth about $1 billion a year.

However, with speculation that Delta will file for bankruptcy this week, the latest request to the pilots may be designed not to save it from Chapter 11 but rather to give the union advance notice of the kind of sacrifices it may be asked to make in a reorganization.



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, the parent of United Airlines, and

US Airways

( UAIRQ) have used Chapter 11 to extract steep concessions from employees.

Delta shares slid 7 cents, or 8.2%, to 78 cents. The stock would likely end up worthless if the company files for bankruptcy. When airlines emerge from bankruptcy protection they typically cancel existing common stock and issue new shares to pay creditors.

Last week, Delta announced plans to sell 11 Boeing 767-200 planes in an effort to raise cash and streamline its fleet. In August, the airline agreed to sell its regional airline unit Atlantic Southeast Airlines to


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for $425 million.

But those efforts, along with cost-cutting and efficiencies already realized by Delta's ambitious transformation plan, have been swamped by high fuel costs.