Delta says airline will push on despite billionaire selling off stake in company

ATLANTA — It wasn't the news the state's largest private employer wanted to hear, but Delta Air Lines said it's still moving forward after one of the country's biggest investors sold all of his shares in the company.

A spokesperson for Delta told Channel 2’s Dave Huddleston that they believe in the company, its people and its brand, and they will get through this.

But they know it will be tough until travelers are ready to hop back on a plane.

Every few weeks, DeKalb County attorney Musa Ghanyem boards on a plane. He told Huddleston that the airlines are doing a lot to keep planes clean and passengers spread out.

"I don't advise having to do it unless it is essential to do so," Ghanayem said about flying. "Every other row is not being sold and neither is the middle seat. So, I was shocked at how much space there is between people."

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But despite all the precautions, not enough people are flying and that prompted mega investor, Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett, to sell $4 billion worth of stock from several airlines.

His company owned about 11% of Delta Air Lines’ stock.

"The world changed for airlines and I wish them well," Buffett said.

Channel 2 consumer advisor Clark Howard said it was a major blow to Delta, the state’s largest private employer.

"His vote of no confidence is another nail in the coffin for airlines," Howard said.

To win back that confidence, carriers are now requiring passengers and crew to wear protective masks.

But the flight attendants’ union wants to ban leisure travel until national safety measures are in place.

"Because the flights have been pulled down, we're seeing more and more full flights without policies that really address proper social distancing," said Sara Nelson, international president of the Association of Flight Attendants.

Monique Biddle, of Smyrna, told Huddleston that she has no problems flying. In fact, she's booked a July trip for her entire family.

"When we see travel come back, that's when we know the economy is coming back," Biddle said.

A Delta spokesperson also told Huddleston that airline will endure as a better, stronger and more resilient airline in the future.

The company employs more than 90,000 people worldwide, including around 33,000 here in Georgia.