Taking Off?April 28, 2021
As Delta’s Vice President of Airport Operations at Detroit’s Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, Hussein Berry oversees the day-to-day operations for Delta’s second largest hub. This includes all customer service areas, ramp, baggage, cargo operations, and the Airport Control Center all of which encompasses over 2,000 Delta employees and business partners. Berry recently answered some key questions facing the industry.
HOW WILL TRAVEL CHANGE BECAUSE OF COVID-19?
Our Detroit hub has been key for those traveling for essential reasons during the pandemic and will continue to play an important role as one of Delta’s core U.S. hub operations. Detroit will be instrumental to building back flight services not only for our local customers, but across the U.S. and internationally. We will keep our focus on the cleanliness of our airports and planes. This includes the hospital-grade HEPA filters that have been a part of our modern fleet for many years before the pandemic and will, of course, continue to be on our flights. Customers can also book with us with more confidence and flexibility if their plans change.
WILL THERE BE LESS OR MORE TRAVEL?
We have seen evidence of pent-up demand for travel of all varieties and we are well positioned to safely increase service as demand continues to recover. Vaccinations across the U.S. and world will go a long way to driving increased confidence in travel. We expect that demand for domestic travel will recover beginning this year before international demand, but we are taking action to be ready for demand levels in the future.
WILL TEMPERATURE CHECKS AND VACCINATION PASSPORTS BECOME AS COMMON PLACE AS INCREASED SECURITY SCREENINGS AFTER 9/11?
The idea of a vaccination passport is a developing one. We do believe that some countries may require some proof of vaccination as a condition to enter. Whatever form that may take, we’ll be ready to give our customers that information when they book and before they arrive at the airport, so they’ll be ready when they arrive at their destination. Temperature checks have been a lesser tool from earlier on in the pandemic but again, may be something customers experience abroad.
WILL THERE BE LESS DEMAND FOR BOTH BUSINESS AND PERSONAL TRAVEL?
We believe that business travel will recover though it may look differently than it did before the pandemic. Exactly when business travel demand returns is not yet known, but our business customers continue to tell us they look forward to getting back out there in person. Leisure and personal travel will also continue to be a key reason for our customers to choose Delta and we are ready for them when they are.
WILL THERE BE A PERMANENTLY REDUCED CAPACITY ON FLIGHTS?
Delta is the only airline to block the middle seat through April 30. Although we are monitoring this closely, having this extra space on the aircraft continues to be something we hear from customers about for their comfort and peace of mind. We keep a close eye on demand trends and have the ability to add additional flights where it makes sense, so our customers have the choice and reliability they expect.