Delta’s Ed Bastian has just celebrated his first anniversary as CEO and in a short time has established a warmer, less in-your-face leadership style than his predecessor, the legendary Richard Anderson. Where Anderson had punctuated the company’s outstanding performance metrics with sharp elbows thrown at competitors, bureaucrats, and regulators alike, Bastian has chosen a more moderate path. He has impressed employees with his personal touches, like two public apologies after a massive IT meltdown last summer and weather-related service disruptions grounded thousands of flights over a nightmarish five days this spring. One immediate benefit to Bastian’s approach is an expanded presence in key Asian markets. He successfully mended fences with Korean Air, smoothing a longstanding rift over revenue share and pricing as members of the SkyTeam Alliance. In the new relationship, the two airlines can begin selling each other’s tickets for certain flights, and in June, Delta launches a new non-stop flight from Atlanta to Seoul. The company cited fuel prices for its most recent revenue dip—for the quarter ending in March it reported $847 million, a $713 million decrease from the March 2016 quarter. Still, the bumps may be behind it. Delta’s passenger unit revenue for May increased 3.5% year over year.
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