Delta's chief executive officer says business travel continues to lag but remains optimistic about the airline's countermeasures — including its policy to create distance among passengers by blocking middle seats during the novel coronavirus pandemic. Delta Air Lines Inc. CEO Ed Bastian made the comments during Delta's second quarter earnings call Tuesday, July 14. Delta posted a $7 billion pre-tax loss and saw year-over-year operational revenue fall by 91% in the quarter as the pandemic ravaged the commercial aviation industry. As other commercial airlines have warned employees of potential furloughs and layoffs before the end of this year, Bastian said he is hopeful the Atlanta-based carrier can avoid involuntary separations. In the months since the pandemic began, Bastian has repeatedly predicted Delta will emerge as a smaller company. More than 17,000 Delta employees — roughly 20% of the company's workforce — applied for buyouts or early retirements before the June 13 deadline. Thousands more have elected to go on voluntary unpaid leave through the fall. "We are hopeful that we can accomplish the vast majority of the head count changes we need through these programs, minimizing, if not eliminating, the need, for involuntary furloughs," Bastian said. "This will require creativity and collaboration across all of our workgroups, and I'm hopeful that we can get there." #Involuntary separations#Delta #Ceo #DeltaMiddle #Bastian said#Consumer #Aviation#AviationNews #AviationIndustry #AirlinesCause #Amid #Panademic