Delta CEO on meltdown recovery: “We’re going to get through this in good shape”

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Delta CEO on meltdown recovery: “We’re going to get through this in good shape”

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The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Delta CEO Ed Bastian

Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian’s first year at the helm of the company has brought a series of trials, most recently a five-day meltdown due to a one-day thunderstorm.

Bastian said the airline is fully recovered after the 4,000 flight cancellations earlier this month.

“The operation is back. We’re making sure our customers know we’re sorry for the challenges of the recovery,” he said. “We’re going to get through this in good shape.”

But he also acknowledges that the recovery from a daylong assault of thunderstorms at the Atlanta hub took longer than it should have.

“We need to recover faster,” he said. “I think it took up to two days longer than it should.”

On the day of the storms, Bastian was in Augusta for the Masters Golf Tournament that week.

“We were obviously not fully anticipating the effect of the storm,” Bastian said, and were taken “a little bit aback by the magnitude and severity.”

He said he went to Augusta for a “large customer gathering” Wednesday night and stayed Thursday. Instead of staying longer, he left Friday morning and flew to his Florida residence where he has a home office “because of the way the recovery was going.”

Bastian, who succeeded former CEO Richard Anderson last year, said he was “fully involved” and in touch throughout the period of cancellations. “It was all hands-on deck for everybody.”

The company plans to speed upgrades to crew tracking systems to avoid such problems in the future, and has been working on improvements to avoid mishaps like its massive system outage last August and another in January.

Another big part of Bastian’s focus in his first year is on upgrading service, including in-flight food and wi-fi.

Read more on Bastian’s first year as CEO of Delta, improvements to prevent future meltdowns and his plans for the airline on MyAJC.com

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