Delta CEO: Vaccination to be required for new employees

Delta CEO Ed Bastian during a  press conference following a tour of the Covid-19 vaccination site set up at the Delta Flight Museum in Hapeville on Wednesday afternoon, Feb. 24, 2021.Ben Gray for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Delta CEO Ed Bastian during a press conference following a tour of the Covid-19 vaccination site set up at the Delta Flight Museum in Hapeville on Wednesday afternoon, Feb. 24, 2021.Ben Gray for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Ben Gray

Credit: Ben Gray

Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian said Thursday during a CNN interview that he plans to require that new hires for the company be vaccinated for COVID-19.

Among existing employees, “I’m not going to mandate and force people if they have some specific reason why they don’t want to get vaccinated,” Bastian said during an interview with CNN’s Richard Quest. “One caveat to that — any person joining Delta in the future we’re going to mandate they be vaccinated before they can sign up with the company.”

The requirement for new hires takes effect May 17, according to Delta.

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.”

About the Author

ajc.com

In Other News