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In Delta’s defense, they also cite “inclement weather” as a thing that’s been tough on their business model. Also in Delta’s defense they were receiving a lot of political pressure from people like Cancun escapee enthusiast Sen. Ted Cruz to continue allowing bad actors with terrible public health habits to stay on flights. These issues, coupled with mounting losses for airlines like Delta as COVID-19 has continued to hurt the numbers of travelers and crew available to the make money off of, pushed Delta CEO Ed Bastian to openly promote the myth in March that the pandemic was over—psychologically speaking.
“People have decided to start traveling again,” he said. “And in the last three weeks the governments of the world have decided it’s time to go, that the Covid era is over. We’re moving into a period where we’re managing this virus, rather than being managed by it.”
Sadly, corporations are corporations, and if we know anything about the rich and wealthy among us, it’s that the only thing they are smart about is making money by rigging a system. The fact of the matter is that the airline industry, like many thinly built businesses in the modern era, was in trouble the moment COVID-19 hit. Billions in bailout money were piled onto an industry that spent all of its Republican tax giveaways on buy backs and corporate bonuses. In fact, just before getting that Trump bailout money, many major airlines—including Delta—had spent upwards of 96% of their “free cash” over the previous decade buying back their own stock in order to keep the finance shell game going.
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As a reminder, long before COVID-19—about four years before—the brilliant corporate leadership was losing a lot more money just being themselves. “Bastian said he remains skeptical about the benefits of fuel-price hedging after Delta dropped the activity in 2016 following losses that totaled $4 billion in the previous eight years as it sought to guard against hikes.”
Now consumers and workers will suffer again as a result of corporate mismanagement. Corporate players will in turn throw up their hands and say, “What could have been done?” while also reminding their shareholders about how they were able to increase dividends and profits quarterly by using taxpayer money bailouts. And if that gets to a breaking point, our government has shown its willingness to bail out the useless leaders of industries in order to keep them in mega yachts.