Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian said about 8,000 of its 75,000 employees tested positive for Covid-19 over the last four weeks. Their absences have damaged their financial results during a busy holiday travel season.
Delta reported a loss for the quarter and forecasted another for the first three months of the year because of the fast-spreading omicron variant. They also said that the predicted travel would begin to rebound again in late February. A series of winter storms and airline crews sidelined by omicron infections contributed to more than 20,000 U.S. flight cancellations industry-wide between Christmas Eve and the first week of January.
United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby on Monday said 3,000 of its close to 70,000 U.S. employees were positive for Covid. Flight cancellations have eased significantly in the past few days. Delta said that its operation has since stabilized and that 1% of its flights were canceled over the past week because of omicron.
Delta updated its sick leave policy for employees who test positive for Covid-19, providing them five days of pay outside of sick banks and an additional two days if they test positive on the fifth day. The staff had ten days of paid leave for Covid infections aside from regular sick days. That came after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidelines for Covid quarantining, halving its recommendation to five days.