Delta Air Lines execs ‘privately grumbling’ about the Indian COVID-19 strain having the same name


Executives at Delta Air Lines are unhappy the current strain of the coronavirus which is fast spreading throughout the United States shares the same name as their company.

The Coronavirus Delta variant was previously known as the Indian variant, and is based on the mutation’s origin. 

The names were officially changed by the World Health Organization in May, using the Greek alphabet to prevent stigma and simplify discussion, but that does little to stop people making a connection between already-established brands which also share the name. 

Executives with Delta Air Lines are unhappy the latest coronavirus variant shares the same name as the company

'We just call it the variant,' Delta CEO Ed Bastian, pictured, said in an interview

‘We just call it the variant,’ Delta CEO Ed Bastian, pictured, said in an interview

‘We just call it the variant,’ Delta CEO Ed Bastian said in an interview to the Wall Street Journal.  

Bastian says so far there has been no significant lull in bookings as a result of the connection. ‘We haven’t seen any drop off at all,’ Bastian confirmed. 

‘We prefer to call it the B.1.617.2 variant since that is so much more simple to say and remember…,’ said Dr. Henry Ting, Delta Air Lines’ chief health officer in a tweet.

The airline, which is based in Atlanta was named after Mississippi Delta region where the carrier began as a crop duster. 

Delta, which in pre-pandemic times would fly 750 aircraft to more than 300 destinations around the world, has been the butt of some jokes by their competitors.  

'We prefer to call it the B.1.617.2 variant since that is so much more simple to say and remember…,' said Dr. Henry Ting, Delta Air Lines' chief health officer in a tweet

‘We prefer to call it the B.1.617.2 variant since that is so much more simple to say and remember…,’ said Dr. Henry Ting, Delta Air Lines’ chief health officer in a tweet

The airline says despite the crossover, there has been no drop off in bookings. On Wednesday Delta Air Lines reported its first quarterly profit since the pandemic devastated the airline industry more than a year ago

The airline says despite the crossover, there has been no drop off in bookings. On Wednesday Delta Air Lines reported its first quarterly profit since the pandemic devastated the airline industry more than a year ago

United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby was jokingly asked at a virtual Q&A at the Economic Club of Washington, D.C. how he arranged to have the latest variant named after the airline. 

‘I did enjoy giving Ed Bastian a hard time when I saw him a few weeks ago,’ Kirby said.

Bastian isn’t too concerned with the Delta variant affecting the business with the WHO already identifying other named strains of the disease.

‘There’s other variants coming up behind it.’ he said. The WHO has noted Eta, Iota, Kappa and Lambda as ‘variants of interest.’ 

The coronavirus pandemic lead to a difficult year in travel with demand for flights decimated. Major airlines lost $35 billion last year, according to the Journal. 

The names were officially changed by the World Health Organization in May, using the Greek alphabet to prevent stigma and simplify discussion, but that does little to stop people making a connection between already-established brands which also share the name (file photo)

The names were officially changed by the World Health Organization in May, using the Greek alphabet to prevent stigma and simplify discussion, but that does little to stop people making a connection between already-established brands which also share the name (file photo)

Delta Air Lines say that with many customers being vaccinated, there are few signs that the current variant is affecting travel bookings. 

On Wednesday reported its first quarterly profit since the pandemic began, boosted by about $1.5 billion in government aid and a summer rebound in vacation travel.  

Delta said Wednesday that it earned $652 million in the second quarter. However, Delta’s report shows that airlines still face turbulence as they try to rebound from their worst year ever.

Without $1.5 billion in federal pandemic relief and other one-time events, the Atlanta airline would have posted an adjusted loss of $678 million.

Even though crowds at the nation’s airports are approaching 2019 levels, Delta’s operating revenue is still only half of pre-pandemic levels.

Delta was the most profitable U.S. airline going into the pandemic, and it is likely to emerge from virus outbreak at or near the front of the pack. 

The Delta variant, meanwhile, is now the dominant strain of the virus in the U.S. and appears to be slightly better at evading vaccines compared to other variants that have preceded it.     

The airline isn’t the only Delta to have had a problem with its name.

Delta Goodrem, 36, (pictured) has joked she's considering changing her name, as the Delta variant of Covid-19 locks down millions of Australians

Delta Goodrem, 36, (pictured) has joked she’s considering changing her name, as the Delta variant of Covid-19 locks down millions of Australians 

Australian singer-songwriter Delta Goodrem revealed she is considering changing her name.

The 36-year-old, who is currently isolating in Sydney with her boyfriend Matthew Copley, floated the idea with fans last week on Twitter while promoting an upcoming series of online performances. 

‘Hi all, it’s me the artist formerly known as Delta [wonky face emoji],’ the Born To Try singer lamented. 

‘Looking for a new name and Tour songs to sing for THURSDAY NIGHT BUNKERDOWN SESSION!! Let me know your dream songs and ideas for the setlist xxx,’ she added. 

Delta, who is currently isolating in Sydney with her boyfriend, floated the idea with fans last week on Twitter while promoting an upcoming series of online performances

Delta, who is currently isolating in Sydney with her boyfriend, floated the idea with fans last week on Twitter while promoting an upcoming series of online performances 

At the start of the pandemic last year, Corona beer suffered an initial drop in sales after sharing a similar name to the pathogen that shares the same name. 

‘There is no question that Corona beer is suffering because of the coronavirus,’ said Ronn Torossian, the founder of 5WPR, the public relations firm which conducted the survey at the time in March 2020. 

‘Could one imagine walking into a bar and saying, “Hey, can I have a Corona?” or “Pass me a Corona”,’ he said.

Corona beer’s parent company, Constellation Brands, says ultimately sales of its popular beer held up and it has no plans to alter its marketing strategy despite the virus. 

Corona beer’s parent company, Constellation Brands, says ultimately sales of its popular beer held up and it has no plans to alter its marketing strategy despite the virus

Corona beer’s parent company, Constellation Brands, says ultimately sales of its popular beer held up and it has no plans to alter its marketing strategy despite the virus 



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