Delta Air Lines CEO Richard Anderson has a reputation as a bold and relentlessly competitive leader.
Now, he has chosen to fly solo with a move by Delta to leave the nation’s leading airline trade association in a high-profile, heated dispute.
Anderson has increasingly contended that Delta shouldn’t just be compared to other carriers and that its priorities may be from those of other airlines.
He recently told employees, for example, that the company has had 185 days this year with no mainline flight cancellations, adding: “Our competitors in the U.S. probably look at that number and just wonder how we do it. Even if we tell them [how] they wouldn’t be able to do it.”
The low cancellation rate created tension with other carriers. Delta recently ditched a standard industry agreement with American Airlines that included terms to accommodate passengers on each other’s flights during flight cancellations.
Delta said American was sending its passengers to Delta at a five-to-one ratio and that the deal “was no longer mutually beneficial” given its own “industry-leading” performance.