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Delta CEO: Economy is Strong and Travel Demand is the “Highest We’ve Seen in Our History”

July 19, 2018, 3:47 PM UTC

It looks like clear skies ahead for Delta Airlines (DAL). At least, that’s the upbeat flight plan from CEO Ed Bastian.

Speaking with Fortune, he says the airline’s revenues are up 9 percent so far this year and 2018 will be the fifth year in a row that Delta has made more than $5 billion in profits. Delta is the nation’s second largest carrier and with revenues of $41 billion it is ranked number 75 on the Fortune 500 list of America’s largest industrial companies.

“Demand is the strongest we’ve ever seen in our history,” he says. “Our planes are full. Our load factors for this summer are looking the highest in our history.”

But tickets prices are going higher too. Bastian says that the airline will be raising prices by as much as four percent because jet fuel costs have been surging. He justifies the fare hike, explaining that fuel prices have increased 50 percent in the past twelve months and fuel is one of the major costs of his airline.

But none of those cost issues nor U.S trade tensions with China, one of Delta’s biggest markets, are stopping Bastian’s plans to grow the airline. Delta is investing nearly $2 billion over the next five years at Los Angeles International Airport, one of the busiest in its network. The airline has also purchased a new fleet of jets from Airbus and regional planes from Bombardier.

“We’re stepping out, we’re growing our businesses, we’re investing in our future,” he says.

Watch the video above for more from our interview with Bastian.