Delta Air Lines CEO ditches ‘divisive’ COVID vaccine mandate; marks 90% employee vaccination rate

Delta CEO: Employee vaccination rate high without mandate ‘divisiveness’

Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian says employee vaccination has been effective without forcing a mandate.

Delta Air Lines is the only U.S. carrier to hold off on enforcing a coronavirus vaccine mandate for employees and CEO Ed Bastian reported that it’s been an effective tactic for vaccination rates and compliance.

The Delta head revealed on "The Claman Countdown" that the company has reached a more than 90% vaccination rate and expects it to rise another 5% within the next month without a mandate in place.

"The reason the mandate was put in by president, I believe, was because they wanted to make sure companies had a plan to get their employees vaccinated," he said. "A month before the president came out with the mandate, we had already announced our plan to get all of our people vaccinated. And the good news is the plan is working."

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Bastian acknowledged that there will need to be religious and medical accommodations made for those who wish to remain unvaccinated while avoiding having to threaten employment status.

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"By the time we’re done, we’ll be pretty close to fully vaccinated as a company without going through all the divisiveness of a mandate," he said. "We’re proving that you can work collaboratively with your people, trusting your people to make the right decisions, respecting their decisions and not forcing them over the loss of their jobs."

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Despite a "very choppy" coronavirus recovery for the air travel industry, Bastian celebrated Delta’s low cancelation rate and overall operational balance. The CEO shared that the company has recorded 116 "perfect days" this year without cancelations which is right on par with pre-pandemic 2019 numbers.

"Delta’s done a great job all year long with making certain that we’re managing supply and demand in equilibrium," he said. "Our people are doing a great job."

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"I can’t give enough thanks to the Delta team, providing a great product for our customers and it’s one of the reasons we were profitable this quarter."

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