In a wide-ranging interview with Marketplace, Ed Bastian talked about Delta’s future relationship with Boeing.
First, let me give a plug for the full interview. When I turned on my car yesterday, I heard Ed Bastian’s voice…he was being interviewed by Kai Ryssdal, host of Marketplace. You can watch a portion of the interview here:
The full interview is audio only.
I appreciate the video and got a kick out of the amused smirk on Bastian’s face throughout much of it.
But today I want to focus on one part of the interview concerning Boeing.
Ryssdal: You mentioned partners. So, I will I’ll bring this up. And I’ll note that you’re not a Boeing 737 Max customer —
Bastian: We’re not.
Ryssdal: But you do fly Boeing aircraft.
Bastian: We do.
Ryssdal: Dennis Muilenburg, as you know, is having a tough time now, trying to figure all that out and what to do about that. First of all, has he called you? Have you guys spoken?
Bastian: I know Dennis well. I sent him a note of encouragement a few weeks ago and told [him] to stick in there.
Ryssdal: Any concerns about Boeing as a partner for Delta Air Lines?
Bastian: I don’t. Boeing is a great company, and it’s a great American company. We fly more Boeing planes than any other manufacturer. We’ve always flown more Boeing, and we hope to fly more Boeing going forward.
While hardly surprising that Bastian would throw his support around Boeing (especially in light of the ongoing “stolen” US jobs debate surrounding Gulf Carriers and Delta’s recent large subsidized Airbus A220 order), I find the “note of encouragement” intriguing.
Frankly, I have not lost faith in Boeing and will not hesitate to fly Boeing on any future occasion. At the same time, I think Boeing has forfeited a tremendous amount of credibility in the way it has handled the 737 MAX crash and the way that it seemed to cover up known issues about the MAX program.
A note of encouragement is always appreciated, but perhaps Muilenburg needs something else during this difficult time.
Again, listen to the whole interview. Bastian shares insight on Delta’s LAX expansion, profit sharing, and long-term growth plans. Kudos to Ryssdal for asking the right questions.