Delta Air Lines has yet to see any impact from the pending tariffs on certain Chinese imports to the USA, says chief executive Ed Bastian.
The SkyTeam Alliance carrier has not seen any "slowdown or any pullback" in demand from China since the 25% tariffs on $34 billion in annual trade were announced earlier in June, he says speaking at a National Press Club luncheon in Washington DC on 27 June.
The tariffs are scheduled to enter into force in early July.
"Trade wars and tariffs generally are not good for businesses… they tend to be a zero sum or minus game at times," says Bastian. He adds that the long-term impact on demand for air travel between China and the USA remains to be seen.
Delta serves Beijing from Detroit and Seattle, and Shanghai from Detroit, Los Angeles and Seattle, FlightGlobal schedules data shows. It will begin Atlanta-Shanghai flights in July.
The carrier also has a strategic partnership with Shanghai-based China Eastern Airlines, in which it owns a 3.55% equity stake.
While Bastian does not support trade wars, he does support the Trump administration's policies to create what Delta views as a level playing field for American workers. He points to Delta and other US mainline carriers' subsidy dispute with Qatar and the United Arab Emirates that was settled earlier this year as an example of its support for the administration.
"We've been victimised by unfair trade practices over some period of years and, with respect to the administration's policy of giving US firms a chance of success on a level playing field, we're 100% in agreement," says Bastian.
The Trump administration has also implemented tariffs on steel and aluminium imports to the USA, including from close trading partners Canada and the EU. Bastian does not comment on these tariffs.