Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business Dean Maryam Alavi recently hosted a virtual conversation with Ed Bastian, CEO of Delta Air Lines, about leadership through crisis. In the hour-long talk, Bastian brought a message of hope about the future of Delta and the airline industry overall and how Delta is tackling racism and implicit bias in the workplace, among other topics.
Bastian is optimistic about the future. During the pandemic, Delta has devoted resources to improve the customer experience, including applying comprehensive measures to ensure the safety of their customers. They are also investing in more digital technology, upgrading and expanding airports in anticipation of an increase in traffic, and accelerating its fleet improvement plan. “Our business is about connecting people, and we like to say that our mission is that no one can connect the world better than Delta,” he stated.
Bastian also addressed racial inequality and affirmed that the organization is looking at the issue head-on. “When you see the gap we have between our Black and African American community workforce and the number of leaders at the top of the company, there is a meaningful gap, and I’ve been very transparent and accountable for closing that gap,” he affirmed. “I take it personally because I like to think about the 75,000 employees as my family.”
For Bastian, he is confident that travel will make a big comeback and Delta is using this time to prepare. “The world feels more distant and disconnected and we know travel will bring us closer together when we know we can go out and be back with family and friends and take trips on a national and international scale. That’s the power of what we provide, the power of our service.”
Dean Alavi’s talk with Bastian is available in its entirety in the video below.