After Georgia politicians retaliated against Delta for cutting ties to the NRA, the airline’s CEO sent a clear message: “Our values are not for sale.”
Delta CEO Ed Bastian gave a statement to company employees explaining the airline’s stance, saying offering special benefits to NRA members could “be seen as Delta implicitly endorsing the NRA,” which he says is “definitely not the case.”
Delta is reaching out to the NRA to let them know we will be ending their contract for discounted rates through our group travel program. We will be requesting that the NRA remove our information from their website.
— Delta (@Delta) February 24, 2018
Bastian’s statement came after Georgia lawmakers passed a tax bill that punished the airline for ending certain travel benefits for NRA members. Delta was among a group of banks, insurance providers, and rental car companies that all made similar announcements prompted by the NRA’s response to the mass shooting at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, which left 17 people dead and dozens injured.
“While Delta’s intent was to remain neutral, some elected officials in Georgia tied our decision to a pending jet fuel tax exemption, threatening to eliminate it unless we reversed course,” Bastian wrote. “Our decision was not made for economic gain and our values are not for sale.”
Read Bastion’s full statement below:
This week, you have likely seen Delta in coverage of the national debate over gun control and security in U.S. schools. I want to take the opportunity to update you on how we got here and where we stand.
On Saturday, Delta rescinded a one-time group travel discount for the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting, and asked the organization to remove our name and logo from their website. This decision followed the NRA’s controversial statements after the recent school shootings in Florida. Our discounted travel benefit for NRA members could be seen as Delta implicitly endorsing the NRA. That is not the case.
I have heard from many of you over the last few days. Our people and our customers have a wide range of views on how to increase safety in our schools and public places, and we are not taking sides. Our objective in removing any implied affiliation with the NRA was to remove Delta from this debate.
While Delta’s intent was to remain neutral, some elected officials in Georgia tied our decision to a pending jet fuel tax exemption, threatening to eliminate it unless we reversed course. Our decision was not made for economic gain and our values are not for sale. We are in the process of a review to end group discounts for any group of a politically divisive nature.
None of this changes the fact that our home is Atlanta and we are proud and honored to locate our headquarters here. And we are supporters of the 2nd Amendment, just as we embrace the entire Constitution of the United States.
I have tremendous respect and admiration for Governor Nathan Deal, and thank him for the work he has done on the jet fuel tax exemption. He is a great friend to Delta. I know this action by the state legislature troubled him as it does all of us.
I know it is not comfortable to be caught in a highly emotional debate, and many of you have received questions from customers. We are at our best when we bring our customers and our world closer together. Hopefully, our decisions this week will serve this ultimate cause.
I want to thank every one of you for your professionalism and continued focus on taking care of our customers every day.