Oct 13, 2021 (Baystreet.ca via COMTEX) -- Delta Air Lines /zigman2/quotes/200327741/composite DAL -0.38% said Wednesday 90% of its workforce of about 80,000 people have been vaccinated against COVID-19, weeks before the company imposes a $200 monthly insurance surcharge on staff who haven't gotten shots.
The Atlanta-based airline's CEO Ed Bastian earlier this month said about 85% of its staff was vaccinated.
On Wednesday, Bastian said he expected that rate to rise to about 95% by early November.
The latest tally, disclosed in its quarterly earnings release, comes as airlines are grappling with the Biden administration's rules that federal contractors' employees must be vaccinated against COVID, unless they can show a valid religious or medical reason to be exempt.
American Airlines /zigman2/quotes/209207041/composite AAL -0.06% , Southwest Airlines /zigman2/quotes/201071949/composite LUV -0.93% , JetBlue Airways /zigman2/quotes/207639051/composite JBLU -0.66% and Alaska Airlines /zigman2/quotes/200972303/composite ALK 0.00% , which like Delta are federal contractors because they fly government employees and provide other services, in recent weeks have told staff they will comply with the mandate and that employees need to be vaccinated to continue working there, unless they receive an exemption. That means staff needs to be fully vaccinated by Dec. 8.
Delta hasn't made such an announcement to staff.
Delta's plan "is working and I'm proud of the people stepping up and making the right decision," Bastian said in an interview on Wednesday.
"We haven't done it with a mandate. We have done it working collaboratively with our people, trusting our people to make the right decisions for themselves, respecting their decisions, but at the same time avoiding the divisiveness of what the mandate is posing to society."
DAL shares delved $2.15, or 4.9%, to $41.39.
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