Delta CEO says delta Covid variant has had no impact on bookings

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A Delta Airlines Boeing 757-251 approaches Washington Ronald Reagan National Airport (DCA) in Arlington, Virginia on February 24, 2021.

Daniel Slim | AFP | Getty Images

The spread of highly transmissible delta variant of Covid-19 hasn’t hurt Delta Air Lines’ bookings, CEO Ed Bastian said Wednesday.

“We haven’t seen any impact at all from the variant,” Bastian said in an interview with CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” shortly after reporting better-than-expected quarterly revenue.

Other airline CEOs including those of American Airlines and United Airlines have also said that domestic leisure bookings have largely rebounded to 2019 levels recently and that business travel is also recovering, though much at a slower pace.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week said the delta covid variant became the dominant strain in the U.S. earlier this month, sparking concerns about its rapid spread, particularly among the unvaccinated.

But summer travel and future travel bookings remain strong. Domestic leisure travel is at “if not beyond” levels last seen in 2019, before the pandemic, Bastian said.

“As the news of the variant’s spreading, we haven’t seen any slowdown at all,” said Bastian, citing bookings 60 to 90 days in advance. “We’re learning to live with this.”

Bastian added that the 72% of Delta’s employees are vaccinated and a “vast majority” of surveyed customers say they have also been vaccinated.

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