Delta Air Lines had roughly 8,000 employees test positive for COVID-19 during the past four weeks, leading to canceled flights during the holiday travel season.
The company’s CEO Ed Bastian said in an interview with CNBC on Thursday that the situation has stabilized in the past week. He said case levels and cancellations have declined significantly.
“The good news is that they were all fine. There were no significant health issues that we were seeing from it, but it knocked them out of the operation for a period of time at the same time that we had the busiest travel that we have seen in two years,” he said.
The company has an estimated 75,000 employees, meaning the caseload of the past four weeks affected almost 11% of its workforce.
Delta Air Lines was not the only company forced to cancel flights during the holiday season. Thousands of flights were canceled by other airlines due to COVID-19 infections and winter storms.
In December, Bastian co-signed a letter to the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asking the agency to reconsider its recommendation of 10 days of isolation after a COVID-19 infection. A few days after receiving the letter, the CDC loosened its guidelines for isolation down to five days for asymptomatic people, followed by five days of masking.
Despite its problems with COVID-19, Bastian said he believes his company will be one of the only airlines that was profitable during the “back half” of 2021. The company was not profitable for the full year. In its fourth-quarter report, the company reported its highest revenue since late 2019. He said he believes business will accelerate near the end of February and into March.
“Our doctors are telling us they think this is going to decline as rapidly as it rose,” he said. “We believe the worst is behind us, and we just need to navigate to get through this as a society.”
Source: Washington Examiner