Delta CEO Richard Anderson.

Delta CEO Richard Anderson seems set on making his wayward pilots walk the plank (or is it jetway?) (Mark Lennihan / AP Photo)

By Frank James

Delta Air Lines chief executive Richard Anderson on Thursday appeared to be saying without explicitly uttering the words that he intends to fire the pilots who, distracted by their personal laptops, flew past their Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport destination.

Reuters reports that Anderson delivered a recorded message to Delta employees. Delta owns Northwest, the airline the pilots flew for. Anderson didn't leave much open to question.

A Reuters snippet:

"The best way that I can describe the incident to you is we don't operate our airplanes that way," Delta Chief Executive Richard Anderson said in a recorded message to employees Thursday. "We operate professionally, we follow our standard operating procedures ..."
Anderson added that it was a "clear violation of our rules to have laptops open in a cockpit," and said the incident was an "anomaly..."
..."This is really a basic in flying an airplane, that you pay attention and that you act professionally," Anderson added in his message. "That crew did not and we'll deal with it accordingly."

The pilots' licenses were revoked by the Federal Aviation Administration so it's academic that Timothy Cheney and Richard Cole won't be flying airliners anytime soon, if ever unless they can get the FAA to reinstate their flying privileges.

But whatever happens on that score, it's pretty certain from Anderson's words they won't be flying for his airline so long as he has anything to say about it.

categories: National News

3:46 - October 29, 2009