Ed Bastian
Ed Bastian

Delta's decision to rescind a group travel discount for National Rifle Association members attending the NRA's convention was an attempt to remain neutral in the national debate around gun laws following the deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida, CEO Ed Bastian wrote in a message to employees.

"Our discounted travel benefit for NRA members could be seen as Delta implicitly endorsing the NRA. That is not the case," Bastian wrote.

He acknowledged hearing from many employees following the decision, made about a week ago, and said the move was not political. Bastian also said Delta supports the Second Amendment.

"Our objective in removing any implied affiliation with the NRA was to remove Delta from this debate," he said.

Bastian acknowledged the backlash against the Atlanta-based company from Georgia lawmakers, who on Thursday denied the company a tax break on jet fuel after its break with the NRA.

"Our decision was not made for economic gain and our values are not for sale," Bastian said. "We are in the process of a review to end group discounts for any group of a politically divisive nature."

The CEO thanked his employees for their professionalism and focus on customer service.

"I know it is not comfortable to be caught in a highly emotional debate, and many of you have received questions from customers," he said. "We are at our best when we bring our customers and our world closer together. Hopefully, our decisions this week will serve this ultimate cause."

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