Bastian added, however, that he doesn’t think it’s fair to force existing employees to get vaccinated “if there’s some sort of philosophical issue they have.”
Bastian told Quest that he expects that 75-80% of the airline’s existing workforce will eventually be vaccinated. More than 60% of the Atlanta-based airline’s 75,000 employees are vaccinated so far.
Bastian has said he strongly encourages employees to get vaccinated. Delta has hosted vaccination sites at its headquarters for the public and at the airport for workers, and has helped with shipments of vaccines.
A check of several of Delta’s job listings on the company’s website does not yet indicate a vaccination requirement.
Delta said it “will be requiring all new hires in the U.S. to be vaccinated against COVID-19 unless they qualify for an accommodation,” according to a spokeswoman. “This is an important move to protect our workforce and our customers as our business recovers and demand for air travel continues to rise.”
Employment attorneys have advised that workers can request accommodation for an exemption to a COVID-19 vaccine, such as if they have medical conditions that are a contraindication to the vaccination or if they have sincerely held religious beliefs.
In other comments on CNN, Bastian discussed the airline’s flights from New York to Tel Aviv, which it suspended along with other airlines’ suspension of flights to Israel amid violence in the conflict between Israel and Palestinians.
Bastian said the company is “monitoring it by the day and making the decisions as we go.”