The spread of the highly transferable Delta variant of Covid-19 did not harm Delta Air Lines’ bookings, CEO Ed Bastian said on Wednesday.
“We saw no effects at all from the variant,” Bastian said in an interview with CNBC’s “Squawk Box” shortly after he reported better-than-expected quarterly sales.
Other airline CEOs, including American Airlines and United Airlines, also said domestic vacation bookings have rebounded largely to 2019 levels recently, and business travel is also recovering, albeit at a much slower pace.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced last week that the Delta-Covid variant became the dominant strain in the US earlier this month, raising concerns about its rapid spread, especially among the unvaccinated.
But summer trips and future travel bookings remain strong. Domestic leisure traffic is at – “if not beyond” – the level that was last recorded in 2019 before the pandemic, said Bastian.
“When the news came of the spread of the variant, we saw no slowdown at all,” said Bastian, citing bookings 60 to 90 days in advance. “We learn to live with it.”
Bastian added that 72% of Delta employees are vaccinated and a “vast majority” of customers surveyed say they have also been vaccinated.