Delta Air Lines does not use the name of the new COVID-19 variant named "delta" by the World Health Organization.
CEO Ed Bastian told the Wall Street Journal "we just call it the variant."
The Greek alphabet is used when naming variants to discourage stigmatization based on their country of origin.
Delta Air Lines has joined Corona beer in the exclusive club of brands that have been wronged by the naming of the novel coronavirus and its variants.
Among the latest variants of the novel coronavirus is B.1.617.2 variant, better known as the "delta" variant. The World Health Organization began giving variants official names based on letters of the Greek alphabet to reduce stigmatizing names based on country of origin.
The delta variant, for example, was first discovered in India and has been known for being more easily transmissible than predecessors, even among vaccinated individuals. Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former head of the Food and Drug Administration, believes the Delta variant will peak in late September, as Insider's Dr. Catherine Schuster-Bruce reported, as it's now the dominant strain in the US.
But Delta Air Lines isn't amused at the irony and its chief executive officer, Ed Bastian, told the Wall Street Journal that they don't call the delta variant by its WHO-given name. "We just call it the variant," Bastian said.
Dr. Henry Ting, Delta's chief health officer, first joked about the association in a June tweet when replying to a customer that joked the variant should be named after rival United Airlines. "We prefer to call it the B.1.617.2 variant since that is so much more simple to say and remember…" Ting tweeted on June 29.
Corona, the Mexican beer brand, was famously the butt of jokes in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic. One tagline, "it's corona time," was also co-opted by meme creators throughout the pandemic.
Delta just posted a $776 million GAAP pre-tax profit for the second quarter of 2021 that was largely attributed to an increase in leisure flyers and the opening of more international destinations to Americans. Daily passengers numbers reported by the Transportation Security Administration similarly continue to climb despite the rampaging delta variant.
More aircraft are also joining the Delta fleet to cater to the increased demand. Delta just announced an order for 29 Boeing 737-900ER and 7 Airbus A350-900XWB aircraft, all acquired second-hand.
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