Delta CEO: ‘Starting to see a return of demand’ in air travel

Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian provides an update on the travel industry since taking a hit from the pandemic.

Things might be looking up for Delta pilots.

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Delta Air Lines reportedly plans to bring back 400 pilots to full flying status by summer, a new memo reportedly reveals.

Delta reportedly plans to bring back 400 pilots to full flying status by summer, a new memo reportedly reveals. (iStock)

The major carrier would be waging a bet on increased demand for travel after closing the book on a “disastrous” 2020, according to The Associated Press. Reuters first reported news of the promising memo on Monday, citing the federal payroll support program and greater available training capacity as catalysts for the change amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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“We’re cautiously optimistic that demand will increase as vaccinations roll out across the world, and we look forward to restoring all affected pilots back to full flying status as the recovery continues,” John Laughter, Delta’s senior vice president of flight operations, was quoted as saying in the company memo.

A spokesperson for the Air Line Pilots Association told Reuters the union was “encouraged” by the update.

“We’re cautiously optimistic that demand will increase as vaccinations roll out across the world, and we look forward to restoring all affected pilots back to full flying status as the recovery continues,” John Laughter, Delta’s senior vice president (Delta Air Lines)

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Delta did not immediately return FOX Business’ request for comment.

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Two weeks ago, the major airline reported a fourth-quarter loss of $755 million and $12.4 billion in losses for all of 2020. The figure marks the largest annual loss in the history of Delta, which dates to the 1920s.

The Associated Press reports that the fourth-quarter loss likely would have been greater if not for a bump in December air traffic, as millions traveled across the country to be with loved ones around the holidays.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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