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Delta Airlines CEO Says No Impact Of Delta Variant On Future Bookings

Delta Airlines Inc. (DAL) Chief Executive Officer Ed Bastian said on Wednesday that increasing number of the highly transmissible delta variant of Covid-19 has not made any impact on bookings.

"As the news of the variant's spreading, we haven't seen any slowdown at all," Bastian said, giving examples of bookings 60 to 90 days in advance. "We're learning to live with this," the CEO added.

"We haven't seen any impact at all from the variant," Bastian said after the airlines posted its third-quarter results. The company posted net income for the third quarter of $652 million or $1.02 per share, down from $1.44 billion or $2.21 per share in the 2019 June quarter.

Excluding items, adjusted earnings for the quarter was $1.07 per share, compared to $2.35 per share in the same quarter a year ago. On average, 17 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected the company to report a loss of $1.40 per share for the quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.

Total operating revenue for the quarter declined 43 percent to $7.13 billion from $12.54 billion in the same quarter of 2019. Adjusted revenue dropped 49 percent to $6.35 billion from 2019 June quarter. Analysts expected revenue of $6.20 billion for the quarter. Passenger revenues for the quarter declined 53 percent to $5.34 billion from the same quarter in 2019.

Looking ahead, the company said that domestic leisure travel is fully recovered to 2019 levels and there are encouraging signs of improvement in business and international travel.

The CEO said that 72 percent of Delta's employees are vaccinated and a "vast majority" of surveyed customers are also vaccinated.

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