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

Key Points
  • Delta's CEO says bookings haven't been affected since the rapid spread of the delta Covid variant.
  • Bookings for domestic leisure travel are at or above 2019 levels, CEO Ed Bastian said.

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Delta Air Lines CEO on earnings: Consumer travel is beyond 2019 levels
Delta Air Lines CEO on earnings: Consumer travel is beyond 2019 levels

The spread of the 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 at a much 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," Bastian said, citing bookings 60 to 90 days in advance. "We're learning to live with this."

Bastian added that 72% of Delta's employees are vaccinated and a "vast majority" of surveyed customers say they have also been vaccinated.