The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
In August, United Airlines became the first major U.S. carrier to require its employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Other major U.S. airlines, including American and Southwest, announced earlier this month that they are also requiring employees to have their photos taken.
The measures came after Reuters reported on Friday that the White House pushed carriers to do so.
This leaves Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines as the only major US carrier without a broad vaccine mandate for employees.
Earlier this year, Delta stood out for a different reason as the only major airline still blocking the middle seats.
He maintained this policy until April 2021, saying he gained more customers because it made travelers feel safer during the pandemic.
Delta requires new recruits to be vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus.
But for its existing employees, it instead penalizes unvaccinated workers with a monthly health insurance supplement of $ 200, starting in November, while requiring them to take weekly COVID-19 tests and wear masks.
On Monday afternoon, Delta said its “approach to encouraging a high employee vaccination rate continues to work,” adding that 84% of its workforce has been vaccinated so far and that rate “is rising daily.”
At an International Air Transport Association conference in Boston, Delta CEO Ed Bastian said Sunday, “I’m really happy with the success we’ve had,” according to a transcript of the remarks.
Chicago-based United said on Monday that 99.5% of its employees had been vaccinated against COVID-19. At the same time, some employees sued United, which said 320 workers were about to be made redundant out of a workforce of 67,000.
Some industry watchers say Delta may have no choice but to adopt a similar policy, highlighting the Biden administration’s vaccine requirement for federal contractors by December 8.
In a statement released Monday, Delta said that “we are continuing to review the administration’s decree.” Bastian said on Sunday that he expects the vaccination rate of Delta employees to reach “well above 90%”, but that the company “will certainly follow all the requirements of the decree.”
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp threatened last month to take court action to block President Joe Biden’s federal vaccine requirements.
Dallas-based Southwest Airlines, the second largest carrier at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport behind Delta, issued a statement Monday afternoon announcing its mandate to vaccinate employees.
He added that he “has determined that the carrier’s contracts with the US government require full compliance with the Federal Immunization Directive.”
Delta is also a federal government contractor. It is one of the US airlines contracted to offer discount flights to federal government travelers. He is an American military aircraft maintenance contractor. As part of the Defense Ministry’s Civilian Reserve Air Fleet, he recently helped transport evacuees from Afghanistan.
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