Delta Rejoins Major Airline Trade Association

Partially responsible is the airline’s change in leadership.

delta aircraft
Delta Air Lines serves more than 200 million people annually through a network of more than 300 destinations in 50 different countries.Delta Air Lines

How times have changed. Delta Air Lines said on December 18, 2019, it plans to rejoin Airlines for America (A4A), the trade association it parted ways with in October 2015. A4A advocates on behalf of its passenger and cargo airline members to shape policies and measures that promote safety, security and a healthy U.S. airline industry.

Delta cancelled its A4A membership four years ago after the airline’s then-CEO Richard Anderson decided he could not live with the association’s stance on the ATC privatization issue. Anderson believed separating the ATC function from the rest of the FAA was a bad idea and that the airline’s $5 million annual dues payment could better be used to enrich the lives of Delta employees.

So what’s changed in the past four years? For one, Ed Bastian is now in charge at Delta. He said the airline and its employees, “look forward to rejoining A4A and working jointly with other airline members to address issues that impact our people, our customers and the communities we serve. We are committed to the future of commercial aviation, and will work together with A4A to support priorities like promoting sustainability initiatives, fighting unnecessary passenger taxes and advocating for policies that enhance the travel experience.”

Also responsible for Delta’s decision on A4A is that the issue of separating ATC from the FAA has faded into the background, at least for the present.