Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL) CEO Ed Bastian announced that about 8,000 of its 75,000 employees have tested positive for Covid-19 within the last four weeks. The absences impacted the carrier’s financial results throughout the holiday travel season.
The airline has canceled over 2000 flights since Christmas Eve amid the staff shortages and harsh winter weather, Bastian said.
“While the rapidly spreading omicron variant has significantly impacted staffing levels and disrupted travel across the industry, Delta’s operation has stabilized over the last week and returned to pre-holiday performance,” Bastian said in a statement.
“Omicron is expected to temporarily delay the demand recovery 60 days, but as we look past the peak, we are confident in a strong spring and summer travel season with significant pent-up demand for consumer and business travel,” he added.
Nevertheless, flight cancellations have slowed down significantly in the last few days. Delta itself said operations have stabilized, with 1% of flights canceled during the past week. Bastian revealed that the infected employees had “no significant health issues.”
Delta updated its sick leave policy for Covid-19 positive workers, late last year. It granted them five paid days, apart from sick banks, as well as an additional two days if they were to test positive on the fifth day. Staff previously had 10 days of paid leave.