The coronavirus pandemic dealt a major blow to the travel industry, with airlines losing billions of dollars since the outbreak.

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But Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian told FOX Business Network's “The Claman Countdown” Thursday that the company could return to profitability in six months’ time as more people receive the vaccine.

“I think we’ll be profitable this summer,” he said. “That requires that the vaccines become distributed at a higher pace and that we as a country continue to take the necessary steps to combat COVID and put the virus into a contained mode.”

Bastian believes the U.S. can approach herd immunity by summer, allowing more people to travel confidently. The CEO said a return to business normalcy also depends on the Biden administration’s efforts to help states distribute the vaccine more efficiently.

DELTA CALLS 2021 YEAR OF RECOVERY AFTER FIRST LOSS IN 11 YEARS

Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian provides an update on the travel industry since taking a hit from the pandemic.Video

“Right now, it’s very much a patchwork system with 50 different states having 50 different policies and priorities and allocation methodology,” he said. “So additional insight and information and guidance to the states would help us.”

Delta reported a loss of nearly $12.4 billion in 2020, losing approximately $100 million per day in the month of April, host Liz Claman noted. In the third quarter of 2020, the company’s daily cash burn decreased to roughly $24 million, which was then halved to $12 million in quarter four.

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Meanwhile, Delta’s stock jumped 3.5% Thursday after the airline released an optimistic forecast for 2021. Bastian said the business is now starting to see demand for flights return.

“Our team did a great job continuing to manage the cost of the business,” he explained. “We’ve had employees volunteer, take time off without pay … And secondly, we’re starting to see a return of demand as we went from Q3 to Q4.”

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“It was meaningful in terms of the amount of volume that we’re starting to see in the business,” he said. “Still a long ways to go."

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https://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/delta-ceo-coronavirus-vaccine-could-restore-profitability-by-summer

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