Perhaps the timing was coincidental, or he was encouraged by what he heard in a meeting with President Trump on Thursday morning-or both-but Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian Jr. announced Thursday afternoon that the carrier will hire 25,000 new employees over the next five years.
Bastian joined Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly and United CEO Oscar Munoz, among others, in a meeting between airline and airport executives at The White House.
A variety of topics were discussed at the meeting, including airline regulations, tax breaks and infrastructure. While the issues over the Open Skies Agreements with Emirates, Etihad and Qatar airlines did not receive much media play in the aftermath, Bastian's statement made it clear it was absolutely discussed.
At Delta, we plan to hire 25,000 people over the next five years," he said, "with the support of a level playing field globally."
With the support of a level playing field globally
Delta, American and United believe their 'big three' counterparts in the Middle East have accepted a combined $50 billion in government subsidies over the last dozen-plus years that have allowed Emirates, Etihad and Qatar to alter the international travel marketplace.
Supporters of keeping the agreements intact and proponents of re-opening Open Skies talks with the governments from the United Arab Emirates and Qatar have clashed for the better part of two years over the issue, which the Gulf airlines claim are loans, not subsidies.
[READMORE]READ MORE: Trump Presidency Could Alter Open Skies[/READMORE]
"I appreciate the opportunity to meet with President Trump today along with colleagues from across the industry and look forward to continuing our efforts to make U.S. aviation great. We had a positive discussion about many of the major issues facing U.S. travelers, airline employees and the aviation industry, which is a vital economic engine for America," Bastian said in the statement.
"I look forward to working with President Trump, Secretary (of the DOT Elaine) Chao, Secretary (of State Rex) Tillerson and other members of the administration on issues important to Delta, our employees and our customers. Delta has been leading the charge to expand and upgrade our nation's airports, with extensive improvement projects planned and underway at major Delta hubs."
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 'Atlanta-based Delta has about 80,000 employees around the world, and hires regularly in some areas due to turnover. The 25,000 figure includes a combination of growth and backfilling attrition, but Delta did not specify the breakdown.'
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