Delta Air Lines has welcomed Dr Henry Ting as its first chief health officer as part of the its continued response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ting, a “world-renowned cardiologist,” was previously with the Mayo Clinic, which has been partnering with Delta since last summer to establish COVID-19 health and safety measures. Ting had been a primary COVID-19 advisor to the airline who had “helped shape Delta’s response since the early days of the pandemic.”

Delta said that the addition of a chief health officer was “a first for a US airline,” adding that Ting’s longer-term mission would include “listening to our people’s physical and mental health concerns and ensuring Delta is in a leadership position as we transform health and well-being for our people, customers, communities and partners.”

The airline has undertaken a number of health and safety initiatives, both for its customers and its employees, since the beginning of the pandemic. Recently the carrier announced it would extend its policy of blocking middle seats and limiting capacity until the end of April.

And last month it announced plans to offer customers at-home COVID-19 testing kits, making it easier for passengers to test before departure and take another with them to comply with negative-test requirements before returning to the US.

“I consider myself Delta family as a two-million miler. Having worked with leaders at Delta during this pandemic, I was very impressed by the commitment to the health and safety of people, as well as customers,” Ting said. “The next normal will be defined by the choices we make today.”

delta.com