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During the 2017 Skift Global Forum in September in New York City, we heard from a host of the travel industry’s top leaders from across every sector.
In our behind-the-scenes conversation, Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian shared his thoughts about the purpose of basic economy, the reason business travelers are so important to the airline, and his outlook for 2018.
“Travel demand is strong,” he said. “And I expect it’s going to stay strong.”
Not that he would have predicted as much when the year started. With divisive political rhetoric claiming headlines, nationalists growing more vocal around the world, and concerns about safety, the mood entering 2017 was downbeat.
“You would’ve said it’s not going to be a good year for travel,” Bastian said. “Yet it’s been our best year ever.”
He said he believes that’s because travel has become so integral to people’s lives — and because prices are low.
“It’s now resilient and we can overcome the storms and the political rhetoric and we can continue to work to make the world a smaller place and bring people together,” Bastian said.