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Delta was recognized as the world’s best-performing airline of the past 10 years, as well as the top North American airline, by the judges in the Decade of Airline Excellence Awards – which was launched by FlightGlobal, Airline Business and the civil aviation practice of Korn Ferry in lieu of the Airline Strategy Awards.

As the airline industry faces the ongoing pandemic, the Decade of Airline Excellence Awards celebrate the compelling achievements and lasting effects of airlines from each of the six major regions in the decade prior to the crisis – the most financially successful decade in the airline industry’s history.

“Over the decade, and under the leadership of incumbent chief executive Ed Bastian and his predecessor Richard Anderson, the SkyTeam carrier pursued and achieved an employee-driven, customer-focused business strategy and culture,” said Lewis Harper, managing editor of Airline Business. “Coming out of the financial crash, it became the poster child for the airline industry’s new financial maturity, marrying that with a strategic consistency throughout the period.”

According to Flight Global, “Delta drew one of the most enthusiastic responses from the judges” as they noted how Delta financially matured as revenues rose by over 50% and stocks increased substantially throughout the decade – allowing the airline to expand its global footprint through equity investments and joint ventures.

In addition to Delta’s financial strength and premium routes, the judges paid special attention to Delta’s people-focused culture and values-led strategy, which resulted in employees earning $1.6 billion in profit-sharing in 2019.

When announcing Delta’s award, Flight Global noted that “When asked to sum up his job, Bastian’s response was: “Taking care of our people.” That reflects Delta’s leadership philosophy, which is based on the “virtuous circle” – if you take care of your people, they take care of your customers, whose business and loyalty allows you to reward your investors.”

Now, as Delta navigates the COVID-19 pandemic and strives to build a more resilient airline, it holds true to its values and continues to put people over profits by blocking middle seats through March, providing testing for employees and putting in place layers of protection to keep employees and customers safe.

For full details of all winners, visit

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