Delta Airlines CEO Ed Bastian said that the company will be dropping its COVID-19 vaccine mandate, making it the only U.S. airline that will not require employees to receive their shots.
Bastin said during a Thursday appearance on Fox Business' "The Claman Countdown" that Delta has achieved a vaccination rate of more than 90 percent and expects it to increase by an additional 5 percent over the course of the next month despite a mandate not being in place.
"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 also emphasized that there will be a need for religious and medical accommodations for employees who choose not to get vaccinated while avoiding having to threaten employment.
"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."
The Delta head highlighted the airline's low cancelation rate and overall operational balance, noting that the company has recorded 116 days this year without any cancelations, which mirrors numbers from 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic had begun.
"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."
This comes after news broke last weekend that Southwest Airlines had to cancel at least 1,800 flights just days after it announced a coronavirus vaccine mandate for employees.