Delta CEO: 'Gangbusters' consumer spending will fuel holiday travel season

"Gangbusters” consumer spending supported by U.S. economic strength will fuel travel during this year's holiday season, Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian said in an exclusive interview on “Mornings with Maria.”

“I think the holiday season is going to be very, very busy, very active for travel,” he said.

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DAL DELTA AIR LINES INC. 32.77 -1.12 -3.30%

Strong demand was the reason why Delta Air Lines purchased Airbus jets rather than Boeing 737 Maxes, sidelined since March, he added. The decision had nothing to do with safety.

“We have enormous respect for Boeing and we're … cheering for that aircraft to be back in the sky soon,” he said. “But we went with the Airbus product, and as a result, there's a lot of demand that came over to Delta this year, on top of the strong demand for the product we already had, because we had the planes to serve … customers this summer.”

Airbus, the European planemaker whose single-aisle A320 jetliners compete with the 737 MAX, has benefited from the worldwide grounding of the Boeing plane following two crashes that killed 346 people in five months. The Federal Aviation Administration will brief regulators on the status of fixes to the MAX, including anti-stall software faulted in the crashes, next week.