Ed Bastian, the CEO of Delta Airlines, has just announced that the company is ditching its COVID-19 vaccine mandate for employees due to the “divisiveness” of its nature.
Bastian told Fox Business that over 90% of the company is vaccinated, and that number is expected to rise by 5% in the next month with the mandate gone.
“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.”
Bastian went on to say 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.
“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.”
Bastian then celebrated Delta’s low cancellation rate and overall operational balance despite a “very choppy” recovery for the airline industry. He added that in 2021, Delta has recorded 116 “perfect days” 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. 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.”
Bastian had previously said that the vaccine mandate hasn’t had anything to do with his company’s vaccination success.
“We haven’t done it with a mandate,” Bastian told CNBC on Wednesday. “We have done it working collaboratively with our people, trusting our people to make the right decisions for themselves, respecting their decisions, but at the same time avoiding the divisiveness of what the mandate is posing to society.
“I think the spirit of the [federal] mandate was to get people vaccinated,” he continued. “It wasn’t to try to force people with the threat of their jobs if companies are doing the right thing.”