Return to Transcripts main page


Flynn Quits After Losing Trump's Trust; Health Care Mergers Bite the Dust; Delta Shares Profits with Staff; eHarmony CEO Sees Online Dating Shift in the Trump Era;

Aired February 14, 2017 - 16:00:00   ET


[16:00:00] RICHARD QUEST, CNN ANCHOR: Closing bell ringing on Wall Street with the main indices at record high. When you look at the numbers you'll

see the very bullish session on Wall Street. And I've got a good feeling about the lady on the podium. Look at this. That's what you call a good

firm, robust gavel to bring trading to a close. It's Valentine's Day, Tuesday, the 14th of February.

Tonight, Michael Flynn loses the trust of his boss and loses his job in the process. Also, on Valentine's Day, two massive mergers are left broken

hearted. Will tell you why.

And Delta shares its profits with its staff. Chief executive, Ed Bastian, joins me in an exclusive live interview this hour as we discuss all things


I'm Richard Quest, tonight, live in London. Of course, I mean business.

Good evening, Michael Flynn is gone. And the questions for the White House and the president of the United States are only just beginning. The press

secretary, Sean Spicer, says the president lost trust in his national security advisor and that's why he was removed from post. Not because of

the content or the fact that he was having discussions with the Russian Ambassador. The White House is sticking by its assessment that Flynn did

not break the law. On Friday, a U.S. official told CNN that Flynn had discussed U.S. sanctions on Russia in a call with that countries

Ambassador. All the time of course, Barack Obama was still the president.

White House says the president didn't ask Flynn to discuss sanctions. And now lawmakers from both parties are calling for an investigation. The

Trump administration says this was about trust and nothing more.


SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The first matter was whether there was a legal issue. We had to review whether there was a legal issue,

which the White House counsel concluded there was not. As I stated in my comments, this was an active trust. Whether or not he actually misled the

Vice President with the issue. And that was ultimately one led to the President asking for and accepting the resignation of General Flynn.

That's it, pure and simple. It was a matter of trust.


QUEST: Michelle Kosinski is CNN senior diplomatic correspondent. She's at the State Department for us tonight. So, it's not to do with what he

discussed, is to do with the fact that he didn't brief the Vice President correctly and hid certain facts. Is anyone buying this in Washington?

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN SENIOR DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I think that's a good assessment. The White House says that they did this

exhaustive review. Once they were notified by the Justice Department that they believe these conversations took place. That the legal team at the

White House determined there was nothing illegal here. That wasn't the problem. It was just a lying, basically, afterwards. So, it's not as if

that's necessarily an incorrect statement. I mean, there would need to be a full legal analysis of this, and it's not like he's on trial for it at

the moment.

But it raises plenty of other questions about the content of that. First of all, he was not yet in his position, and the White House pushes back.

They said, you know, well this would be normal for somebody a president- elect's team to start reaching out and making those calls. I think that's a viable argument. But it just isn't good timing, clearly.

I mean, the Russians were being investigated for hacking the American election. And the big question is, what is the U.S. stance currently on

these Russian sanctions. If they're talking about lifting the sanctions that were imposed because of the hacking, what is that mean down the road?

Why would the White House be talking about that so early? And did that affect the Russian response then to the sanctions that were put on by the

Obama administration.

QUEST: Michelle, to go from inauguration to full-blown crisis in 24 days, of praise I'm seeing is unprecedented.

KOSINSKI: That is a word that is used over and over. Even before Donald Trump was elected. This was an unprecedented campaign period, and

unprecedented election. President Obama got involved in it, unprecedented. There is almost nothing about this entire span of time that does not seem

unprecedented. But yes, I mean, for the rest of the world to look at what has happened so quickly. And these are serious issues. This is in a flub

or a misstep that comes with early inexperience.

[16:05:00] I mean, this goes to the question of lying to the American public. Lying within the administration, a shakeup. What's being billed

as a "Game of Throne" like atmosphere within the White House. It's disturbing to Americans. It's anything ranging from comical to horrifying

to the eyes of the rest of the world. Will this iron itself out and sort of get on a tact on the road? That's what remains to be seen, but the

denials that have happened. Even if it's true that Mike Pence didn't know about Flynn talking to the Russians about sanctions before the Justice

Department came in and told the White House.

Even if Sean Spicer didn't know about any of this, Flynn himself still denied that he spoke to them about that. Even after -- I mean, this was

just days ago, and he most recently denied that this had happened. So, this is the National Security Advisor of the United States, apparently

lying to the American public about what he discussed that seems to have been captured on tape anyway. The tentacles of this mess extend far and


QUEST: Michelle Kosinski at the State Department this evening. Stay with the story, or at least with tentacles of it. And the White House says

President the president has been and will continue to be tough on Russia. It comes as Russia's challenging the Trump administration. Apparently, to

putting a ground based cruise missile and sending a spy ship to sail off the Eastern Coast of the United States and flying aircraft close to U.S.


CNN's Ivan Watson is in Moscow. Ivan, let's leave the politics to one side at the moment. Murky though they are. What's the significance of these

deploying of ground based cruise missiles, sending up the spy ship, the flying of the aircraft, was the significance of these military maneuvers?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, let me just preface that by saying, Richard, it's midnight here and we do not have any

confirmation from Moscow, from the Russian government, on any of these reported military moves where all of that information and those reports

have come out of the Pentagon. So, we're going to be trying to get them, of course. And I think in some of those cases, such as reports of movement

of a Russian warship in international waters off the coast of the U.S.

I could presume that Moscow would come and set out and say, well, it's a ship in international waters. It's allowed to be there. But I can imagine

what the responses could be to some of the other claims. It is clear though that since the election of Donald Trump that was a moment that was

celebrated by some political circles here. By some media circles that are supported by and operated by the Kremlin. And that there has been a

general sense of hope among levels of the top leadership, as well as ordinary Russians you talk to that the Trump administration would bring a

thawing of the ruptured relations between Washington and Moscow.

But that does not mean that Russia's kind of traditional military doctrine and position where it sees the NATO military alliance as a threat. It sees

the movement of U.S. troops to countries on Russia's boarders in recent weeks and months as a threat and that it reserves the right to protect

itself and move accordingly. So, there could be one potential Russian explanation or some of these reports that were hearing from the Pentagon,


QUEST: Now Ivan, on this other very naughty matter of the sanctions in the discussions with the ambassador. The Russians -- how would you

characterize her sort of position in all of this? Is it a case of being caught with their fingers in the cookie jar? Or do they say, hey, nothing

to do with us gov. Or they just watching with bemused silence from the side?

WATSON: Well, the Kremlin has consistently denied accusations of Russian intelligence services hacking into U.S. election. It has denied reports of

a possible conversation about sanctions between the now ex national security advisor, Mike Flynn and the Russian ambassador. Just this week,

just today, you had the Kremlin spokesman saying, he's not going to comment on Mike Flynn's firing. That that is an internal American domestic affair.

But it's very clear that some very senior Russian lawmakers do not see it that way.

[16:10:00] They see the firing of Mike Flynn as a blow against Russia. Several them coming out with statements on Facebook, on Twitter, to the

Russian press saying, that there's a paranoia in Washington about Russia. That there is Russia-phobia there right now. And that Flynn apparently has

become a casualty of that and along with that is the hope that the Trump administration would need to a repairing of ties between Moscow and

Washington. Ties at has suffered so dramatically under the Obama administration, which top Russian officials continue to vilify in their

public statements. So, it's kind of interesting to see senior Russian lawmakers effectively defending a U.S. official who just got fired.

QUEST: Right, but Ivan, the next move that Russia makes in all of this, the next card that Putin plays could be crucial in determining which way

this goes.

WATSON: Absolutely. And there's been an interesting shift that I've witnessed in my I'm here where state media and government officials have

gone from openly embracing the Trump administration, to saying, hang on, let's wait and see who his top officials are going to be. We're open to

cooperating with him on what appears to be his number one priority, combating international terrorism. But let's first wait and see what the

Russian policy is going to be. A sign perhaps that Moscow, we're starting to see, that maybe the winds are not working in Moscow's favor in


QUEST: Ivan Watson in Moscow tonight. Thank you, sir.

This phone call that General Flynn had with Russia's ambassador took place while President Obama was in office. Sean Spicer says the president did

not instruct his national security to discuss sanctions. And yet, look up quickly the whole thing has degenerated.

It's raise the simple single question. What did the president know? And when did he know it? It's a question that Senator Howard Baker asked in

1973. When he asked it then, it was about Watergate and the Nixon administration. David Gergen was at the White House during those heavy

days of Watergate.

We are a Long Way, Mr. Gergen, from those days -- the moment. But with your vast experience of White House-ery, have you ever seen it get so bad

so quickly?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I have not, Richard. We have had presidents in the past who have stumbled in the early days. Often you

have to make your toughest decisions when your lease prepared to make them. Because you have a new team. You come in the first hundred days, often a

president stumbles. Jack Kennedy had his Bay of Pigs and his first hundred days. But we've never had a president come out of the box with this much

chaos, with this much uncertainty. Rattling the cages all over the world, the Foreign Ministries all over the world and causing great anxiety and

very great polarization here in this country.

So, this is something that goes beyond anything any of us could have dreamed about. It seems surreal. But nonetheless, I think the Republic

will survive. And there is probably -- and I have to say this -- a silver lining here. And that is that General Flynn was a conspiracy theorist. He

was someone who did not enjoy the respect of a great many people in the foreign policy community. He was seen as very pro-Russian and potentially

could have not stopped Donald Trump, if Donald Trump emotionally wanted to do something rash. And I think we'll get a much better person in the job

now. Someone who will work with our Defense Secretary and the Secretary of State, both of them are strong players.

QUEST: Now, the goal of course, for the White House, is to step this crisis now.


QUEST: Prevented from dragging on. And also, though, we've got the Senate now getting the bit between teeth. Because even those renegades -- and I

use the term slightly lightly -- those renegade Republican Senators who are looking for some fresh meat to chew into. Does Flynn's departure last the

boil of this scandal?

GERGEN: No. Look, there are more questions that have been raised in the last 24 hours that we dreamed might be there. First and foremost, question

you started with. Everybody thought that the center of gravity in this story was about Mike Flynn lying to the Vice President about whether he

talked about sanctions with the Russian ambassador. And the trumpet administration has intentionally deflected the press attention over there.

[16:15:00] The real question now has become, the one you opened with. It's a question Howard Baker did ask. And that is what did the president know,

and when did he know it? Did he have anything to do with ordering Mike Flynn to make the call to start with? You know, were they in agreement on

that? Did he instruct at? Because that was a terribly ill-advised call. But we need to know. It's hard to believe that Mike Flynn completely

freelanced it. Given the kind of control and the kind of strength that Donald Trump has in his own administration.

QUEST: There will be Americans that will be saying, you're never going to find out a piece of information. Did the president know? It's going to be

just about impossible to prove a conversation, unless Flynn chooses to reveal it. Between the president and Flynn that reveals that the president

knows. Anyway, David, there will be a large number --

GERGEN: Richard, let me just -- OK.

QUEST: Go on.

GERGEN: Let me just make this point about that. The Congress, the Senate of the United States, is going to be investigating what happen here. What

about the relationship overall with the Russians and the Trump administration people around the president? The FBI is investigating those

questions. At some point, General Flynn is probably going to be put under oath. And at that point, he's going to be under a lot of pressure to tell

the truth. Because otherwise he can go to the slammer. Now, he will try to invoke, something called executive privilege. And that is the privilege

the president has to protect himself from his aide all going up and testifying. We don't know whether the executive privilege can be invoked.

If you are a private citizen, he's no longer in the government. So, there are lot of murky questions. This is not going away quickly. I know there

are people in the White House that sort of say, we've solved the problem. Let's move along here ladies and gentlemen. Let's go on to the next big

event. But it's too sensitive. And there is this lingering question about whether or how much the Russians really tried to help Donald Trump in the

election. How of a difference it made? What did Donald Trump know? And that's going to get wound into this now too.

QUEST: David, I'm back in New York latter in the week. I look forward to picking up this discussion with you then. Thank you, sir.

GERGEN: Let's do it, sir.

QUEST: Now after the break. Very kind of you. I didn't know you cared. They smell delicious. But it's time for Valentine's Day and time for a

corporate kanoodle. Unfortunately, with it being Valentine's Day and the tales of love and lots to be told prepared to be my love.


QUEST: Oh, for music to be serenading you by. It's February 14, coming to the end though and I want to bring some corporate Valentines. As we have a

special of the companies that are cozying up to each other. Or perhaps they are nursing a broken heart.

[16:20:00] Paul La Monica is with me from New York. Paul, a little token of my esteem.

PAUL R. LA MONICA, CNNMONEY CORRESPONDENT: I am so sorry I did not reciprocate and get you anything. They'll be chocolates when you return to

New York.

QUEST: Chocolate. You get flowers I get chocolates. I think I'm getting the better deal.

Let's talk about this as we go through. Two major healthcare companies are breaking off their engagements. And I'm going to do it for you in suitable

rhyme. Here we go, let's take it out.

Roses are red, violets are blue. A merger is dead. Now 1 billion is due.

This was the case of Aetna and the other one. Paul, what's gone wrong with these particular mergers and the one between CIGNA and Anthem, which has

also fallen apart.

LA MONICA: Yes, Aetna and Humana, and CIGNA and Anthem, basically they just could not convince edges that these deals wouldn't violate antitrust

concerns. So, we had five big U.S. health insurers, and we still have five. United Health was the only one not involved in the deal. And it's

for competitors are going to have to stay separate.

QUEST: And we will watch this one. And so, we move on to another balladeer. Toshiba is parting ways with its chairman.

Toshiba is in the red. Investors are in the blue.

The company's boardroom, Is starting anew.

Paul La Monica.

LA MONICA: Yes. There is nothing that says romance like problems that nuclear power plants, is there, Richard. So, clearly, we've got Toshiba

with its Westinghouse Electric deal. That is a big headache for the company, leading the chairman to resign. And the biggest problem at the

company said in their earnings release -- or not their earnings, delaying their earning. So, love being forestalled, if you will, or any loyal

investors still left. They raise the going concern issue. Whether or not things are going to get worse. It's heartbreak city for Toshiba right now.

QUEST: Love is a many splendored thing, Mr. La Monica. From Toshiba to General Motors. Peugeot owner is in talks to hook up with General Motors

in Europe. We'll have lilies I think this time.

Roses are red. Violets are blue. GM might be heading Out of the EU.

Is it really likely that GM would sell Opel and the Renault or Peugeot in this case? Peugeot would be interested.

LA MONICA: It sounds like that is the case. Peugeot has confirmed that there are talks and that a deal could in fact happen. We know that GM is

doing extremely well in North America and China. So, divorcing itself, if you were, from the EU might be something that they would consider on this

most romantic of days. Sadly, divorce is also something that people talk about.

I want this in iambic pentameter next year, by the way.

QUEST: You'll be lucky to get it at all this time next year. If I don't see some trusses when I get back to New York tomorrow, La Monica, there'll

be some serious questions. Paul La Monica, who is in New York.

Now, will Donald Trump and Gigi, turn out to be the perfect match. The chief executive of Ford China thinks they might be. He says he expects the

U.S. and Chinese presidents will work together on international trade. CNN visited the company's production line in China. CNN's David McKenzie, is

in Shanghai, where I send you felicitations and great thoughts. But what were they thinking of when it came to the deals?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, they really want the deals to happen, of course. And if this market is anything to go by, it's the one

that everyone wants to be a part of, Richard. More than 26 million units sold in 2016 alone. It's the largest car market in the world. But because

Donald Trump talk tough about China in the lead up to becoming president, and many people feel that carmakers like Ford and GM in this country could

be punished if there's a trade war.


MCKENZIE (voice-over): At the Ford plant in Hangzhou, the assembly line flies through 40 vehicles an hour.

(on camera): So, you were here from the very beginning?

JERRY LIN, AREA MANAGER, CHANGAN FORD: Yes, from the very beginning.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): Ford veteran Jerry Lin is giving us a rare tour. He helped build the line from scratch. He says it's his baby.

(on camera): So, you got more than 1000 people working here, but you still need the help of automation a little bit.

LIN: Yes, yes. It is semi-automation. We need to make sure the perfect car to be delivered to our customers.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): And Changan under huge success of their Edge SUV in China, Ford sold more than 1 million cars in 2016.

[16:25:00] But President Trump would be a stern test for U.S. companies in China. If Trump sharply raises tariffs on Chinese imports and let's say

China could retaliate against American automakers like Ford.

(on camera): Would a tit for tat situation be harmful to U.S. businesses operating in China?

DAVID L. SCHOCH, CEO, FORD CHINA: Well, I have a general view that a trade war would have no winners.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): I sat down with Ford China's CEO, David Schoch, one of their key global executives.

SCHOCH: We've made no fundamental changes in our strategy. And I have a lot of confidence that President Trump and President Xi will work together

to create an environment of good trade. To be successful in the global environment we are going to have to work with each other.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): Schoch says a trade war could spark a nationalistic backlash. Back when Chinese customers targeted Japanese goods in 2012. He

hopes Ford's relationship with the Chinese consumer will help and Ford's joint venture with powerful state owned enterprises should provide some

protection from the Chinese government. But Ford's China strategy is at the whim of geopolitics.

SCHOCH: We've invested a lot in China. It's an integral part of our future growth. We want to succeed here. We know how to succeed. And we

just want that stable environment. Level playing field and I like our chances.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): And Schoch says their success or failure in China will be a major driver of Ford's global future.


MCKENZIE: Well, can tell you, Richard, before that phone call between Xi Jinping and Donald Trump, there were a lot of nervous U.S. executives that

operate in China. And I think we're going to get a budding romance there between the two leaders, but if they can have a steady relationship that's

negotiated on trade issues they feel they can do business here. Because frankly, it's such a big market there are willing to take a little pain,


QUEST: David McKenzie, getting up at an extremely early hour for which we are grateful. Thank you, in Shanghai.

As we continue tonight, an exclusive interview with the chief executive of Delta Airlines. Ed Bastain is going to join me after the news headlines

from Delta's headquarters in Atlanta. Ed, we can see you and we're looking forward to hearing you after the break.


[16:30:00] QUEST: Hello, I'm Richard Quest, there is more Quest Means Business in just a moment and I'll be speaking exclusively to the chief

executive of Delta Airlines Ed Bastian. As the company shares its profits with its staff. And the chief executive of eHarmony will tell me how

online dating has change in the age of Donald Trump.

All about this on CNN and on this network the news always comes first.

The White House says eroding trust is why the US president asked for the resignation of his national security adviser Michael Flynn reportedly

misled the over the content of his call to the Russian Ambassador before Donald Trump took office. They apparently discussed lifting sanctions

against Russia. Now US lawmakers are demanding an investigation, the White House insisting that Flynn did nothing illegal.


SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The issue is not whether or not what he discussed, there has been a complete legal review of that and there

is no issue with that. The issue is whether or not he failed to properly inform or not be honest with him or not remember it. But that is the plain

and simple issue. And when he lost trust with the president that is when the president asked for and received his resignation.


QUEST: Russia, meanwhile appears to be challenging the Trump administration with a string of provocative military moves. A senior US

military official tells CNN, the actions include employing a ground launched cruise missile, which appears to violate an arms treaty. The US

defense official says also Moscow is deploying a spy ship off the US east coast.

The half-brother of the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, died on Monday after falling ill at Kuala Lumpur International Airport. They are

unsubstantiated reports that Kim Jong Nam may have been attacked. Malaysian police say there are currently no suspects but Reuters reports

that an investigation is underway.

The office of government ethics in the United States is recommending that the White House open an investigation into Kellyanne Conway, top adviser to

Donald Trump. The suggestion is disciplinary action for endorsing Ivanka Trump's products last week on television. The office said there is quote

"strong reason to believe that Conway violated ethics standards."

Now whatever corporate gift you may have gotten for Valentine's Day this year, I am pretty much guessing it wasn't quite as generous as that which

Delta Airlines handed out today. Delta Airlines handed out more than $1 billion to its employees just as it prepares to expand across North

America. It was a $1.1 billion profit-sharing payout slightly smaller than last year's. But Delta's profit-sharing has a big economic impact in the

hub city such as New York, obviously, Atlanta, and out West.

But also, Delta is raising its investment in Aeromexico the largest carrier in Mexico. Delta will now own 49% effectively the legal maximum allowed.

Delta says that it is showing confidence in the Mexican economy. But overarching of course and still in the background there is the Gulf carrier

dispute with the three airlines of the Middle East. The chief executives in the US met with Donald Trump last week and they want the support of a

level playing field globally. Much there to talk about. Joining me from Atlanta exclusively is Ed Bastian the chief executive of Delta Airlines.

Ed, great to see you, we have much ground to cover. And let's start with this Aeromexico purchase going up to 49%. You say this is a bet in a

country and not the airline. It is a risky bet at the time when the US is not only looking to renegotiate NAFTA but obviously, the whole question of

the wall.

ED BASTIAN, CEO, DELTA AIRLINES: Well, first of all Richard, thanks for having us today. It is an exciting day at Delta as we celebrate profits

and Valentine's Day is always a good day to be at Delta. With respect to our Aeromexico transaction we take the long view, the company is the flag

carrier for the country of Mexico. It is a great product great people, 120 million people, south of us and we look forward to working very closely

with them in this new future together.

[16:35:00] QUEST: I realize that it is a long play over many years and decades but are you concerned that in the short term Aeromexico could be

very difficult in trading, particularly if Mexico has economic hardship as a result of policies in the United States?

BASTIAN: Richard, it's clear that in today's political climate there is some uncertainty but as I said we have taken the long-term view. The

Mexican economies dependent on the US economy and vice a versa, the balance of trade between our two countries is not all that different. We know that

with open skies there will be a significant amount of increased demand for travel to Mexico. And we look forward to taking advantage of that with our

partners at Aeromexico.

QUEST: OK, now, when we talk about the current situation, I mean we just saw today that obviously, your share prices have risen very sharply with

the investment by Warren Buffett along with other US airlines. But I now believe that Mr. Buffett is your largest single shareholder. That is a

fascinating dynamic isn't? For a man that they call the Sage of Omaha who is known to invest long-term?

BASTIAN: Well, if you're looking for the ultimate seal of approval on our investment strategy and how future outlook, it is certainly Mr. Buffett at

Berkshire Hathaway. We just learned this evening based in his yearend filings that he is indeed Delta's largest shareholder. He now owns 8% that

is a $3 billion investment that is made in us, we are appreciative of him and we will work our very best to make sure that is a good investment.

QUEST: I want to talk to you about IT issues in the US aviation industry. And when hears these stories they have enormous ripple effect, is it

something systemic, and not just with one carrier but across the industry, that not enough money has been spent in upgrading computers and IT?

BASTIAN: I think there is no question that is the case, there has not been enough investment over time. It is a fact of where we have come from as an

industry, we went through a lost decade, almost 10 years without having the financial resources to appropriately invest in our future. We are doing

that today. We cannot do it soon enough, this year alone we will invest $450 million in IT capital. The outages that Delta has incurred, we have

had two of them over the last year, both of which were related to hardware and equipment issues, not systemic software or other larger more difficult

types of issues. We are going to have a new facility up later this year in fact, in fact it will be up and running in the summer. Just north of here

in Alpharetta, Georgia. At that point the core reliability of the airlines is going to improve substantially.

QUEST: We can't talk without talking about open skies. When I listen to the president last week he sort of suggested that he was very concerned

about the investments made by the Gulf three in Boeing, General Electric, United Technologies and all the other things as well. And he was going to

have to balance that as against the claims of the US three. You think from your point of view -- do you think that this is a dog that will still hunt?

BASTIAN: I do, the president's opening comments to us in total were reflective of the fact that he understood the Middle Eastern issue, he

realized we are competing against government and he acknowledged it is not fair. And it is something that will have to happen in respect to ensuring

that we have a level playing field. He also acknowledged separately it is a complicated topic, there are investments on the other side that do come

in to the industry. From our standpoint, we think there is not mutually exclusive, we think there are opportunities to continue to attract the

level of investment that we need. At the same time enforce the trade treaty that is out there. Protect American jobs, and I think you will CS

be able to go back into India, back into the Middle East, and we will be able to take back the traffic that has been taken from us by these

government airlines.

QUEST: So, that really is the point because that is the argument that Emirates where I was last week in the Gulf and Qatar, well, they say, look,

US carriers aren't flying there anyway. US carriers don't service it year- round. So, you are saying to me tonight, that if they pull back or if there is you will move into those markets?

[16:40:00] BASTIAN: We are already in many of those markets but we have been run out of India, we have been run out of Southeast Asia, we have been

run out of other territories. And with the right level of support from our government with respect to enforcing the treaty we will be able to grow

into those regions that we have not been able to. The level of government subsidies that these carriers are utilizing is astronomical, $50 billion

that we have documented. And no one has disproven that. And as a consequence of that with a level playing field we think can go in and

compete, we know we can compete with anybody.

QUEST: Final question, I know yields are under pressure, I know you are filling your planes. I mean load factor is almost at record highs but the

same time revenues are down or at least yield is down. You don't have pricing pressure at the moment, do you?

BASTIAN: No question that supply has exceeded demand particularly in the international markets, particularly across the transatlantic. There is a

fair bit of savings that have been passed along to consumers through lower fuel prices. That is appropriate. But as fuel prices start to rise, as

are other labor costs increase, we are going to need to demonstrate some pricing power to be able to pass that along, yes.

QUEST: Ed Bastian, thank you sir, congratulations not only on the purchase of Aeromexico but also 1.1 billion which I think anyone would agree is a

sizable -- if I may quickly, by my reckoning it's about $13,000 per employee in some parts of the country. Is that, right?

BASTIAN: Your math is pretty good, Richard, that is across the board. The one thing I want to say on that is no company has ever distributed $1

billion once, we have done it three times in a row, so our employees are the best there is in this business. We just want to make certain that they

get a chance to compete fairly.

QUEST: Ed Bastian, we thank you, sir.

And to the market, a record in US markets on Tuesday. The Dow Jones, the S&P and the NASDAQ all closed at records. Goldman Sachs shares were at an

all-time high. We also have Janet Yellen who was speaking and she was basically confirming rate hikes sooner rather than later.


JANET YELLEN, CHAIR, US FEDERAL RESERVE: As I noted on previous occasions, waiting too long to remove accommodation would be unwise. Potentially

requiring the FOMC to eventually raise rates rapidly which could risk disrupting financial markets and pushing the economy into recession.


QUEST: A federal judge in Seattle has denied a request from the Trump administration to delay further legal proceedings over the selective travel

ban. We are going to discuss the lawsuit and the whole question of travel with one of the candidates who wants to be the Secretary General of the

World Tourism Organization, UNWTO. That's after the break


QUEST: One of the most important jobs in tourism is up for grabs, the Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization, a United Nations body.

The outgoing secretary is from Jordan and says President Trump's desire for a travel ban could lead to a slump in visitors heading to the United

States. As for his replacement, there are candidates from Zimbabwe, Georgia, South Korea, the Seychelles, and Brazil. The former minister of

tourism for the Republic of Seychelles, good to see you. Why do you want the job?

ALAIN ST ANGE, CANDIDATE FOR SECRETARY GENERAL UNWTO: I think tourism is an important industry and after so many years of working in the industry,

the experience you get, the passion that I have put into it, I felt it was an important area that I could finish my tourism career as the Secretary-

General of the UNWTO.

QUEST: It has been mired in a bit of controversy because obviously coming from the African side of the continent and there is another African

candidate that is endorsed by the African Union which is a tourism minister of Zimbabwe. And the two of you are basically hurling accusations at each


ST ANGE: I hurled no accusations. It is a democratic institution, the UN body, and we have to respect the right of everybody to put their names into

it. I will tell the world what I will do and not talk about the other candidates. Everybody has his right to put his name forward.

QUEST: But do you not think that -- and I don't want to get too much into the minutia of the process but do you not think if the AU had stood behind

a candidate and you come in at the last moment, and therefore looks like a spoiler tactic.

ST ANGE: The AU normally comes out three months before an election to put a candidate forward. This one was done a year and a half ahead. And it

was unfair on all the other countries of Africa because you normally just three months before the elections you come out and endorse a candidate.

QUEST: Forget the process, let's talk about the policies. What statement would you say about the Trump immigration ban?

ST ANGE: I think any ban on travel is bad. We need to be inclusive we need to respect the rights of people to travel. And the rights of anybody

who wants to travel must be respected.

QUEST: You the obviously against. But would you be prepared to speak out as bluntly against it as the incumbent has?

ST ANGE: I think every Secretary-General of such a body needs to makes a statement that protects the industry that falls under his administration.

QUEST: Taleb Rifai has done an amazing job of raising the profile not only of tourism but of the UNWTO from a rather sleepy backwater that nobody

listened to actually an organization that we cover frequently. The challenge now for someone like you is what you do next to take it to the

next level?

ST ANGE: I think I respect Mr. Rifai totally for what he has done. He's a good man and he has pitched UNWTO as a new position.

QUEST: How would you take it to the next level?

ST. ANGE: The next level now is to take the constraints of today and this is changed since Mr. Rifai came in office. Today you have safety and

security. You have the climate change issue. You have the environment issue. And you have the respect of everybody to be able to travel which is

now become such an important area of discussion. But more importantly we also now need to ensure that member states have a say into the UNWTO from

the country where they are pitching themselves. So, we'll need to have offices in the respective countries so that they are more in tune with what

Madrid is doing.

QUEST: Good to see you sir.

And let's be clear that we have had one of the candidates and Quest Means Business will be inviting each of the candidates to come onto this program

and speak to us. You have a March deadline for final declarations of intent to stand. And then in May. So, every candidate will be receiving

an invitation to join us on Quest Means Business.

There is an old saying that you will find love where you least expect it. Well, online dating sites are reporting a boom since the US election. Love

in the era of Trump.


QUEST: It appears single people are looking for love online. And they have changed their approach since the US election. Chief executive of the

dating site eHarmony says there has been a 35% jump in activity since November 8.

Single phobia, how do single phobia and the election of Donald Trump and the fears of us all come together on this Valentine's Day?

GRANT LIVINGSTON, CEO, EHARMONY: Well, there are two ways to look at this, first of all we look at our business. In November and December usually

that is kind of a lull time for online dating, certainly it is for us. But we saw a very noticeable increase in not just membership but in

communication between people. Almost as if there is a real focus on meeting someone. So, that is one way to look at this.


LIVINGSTON: There was an election in early November and whatever your political stripe, you have to say that the world feels a little less

predictable than it did say a year ago. For an old-timer like me it is reminiscent of what we saw after 9/11 where a huge shift in the axis of the

earth and it just seem like a time that you did not want to be alone.

QUEST: Now, within this idea of our fears of being alone, this single phobia that you have identified, there are many reasons aren't there for

this phobia? What is the most important?

LIVINGSTON: I think the most important is that it feels scary to be single. Single phobia is this trend we have identified were people in

relationships that they don't even like are scared to leave. They are scared to be single again and they would rather stay in a bad relationship

then go out and look for a new person. I think it just seems complicated to find a new person to be with even though you have all of these tools to


QUEST: Now, you took over and you completely revamped to some extent the whole process for eHarmony. I have to confess I tried to join once but

when I got to question 110 I suddenly felt I have been married and divorced three times. And decided to move on. So, if I was to ever try again, is

it a little easier?

LIVINGSTON: We change some things and so few want to come back and you can start getting matches after only a few questions. We know that 80% of

people to join eHarmony that start finish. But there are 20% of the people that were not interested in taking 140 questions and so we made it so you

don't have to start getting matches. It should be a lot easier for you.

QUEST: Now, the one thing I have noticed just listening amongst friends and in the office, this is my pejorative not anybody else's, but the stigma

of saying that you met somebody from online dating seems to have gone. Is this a generational thing?

[15:55:00] What has driven that that people now are quite happy to say, yes, we met online

LIVINGSTON: The first thing that has driven it is that 35% of all marriages start online. And so, it is so common that it seems silly to

make up a story. I can remember when eHarmony launched in 2000, nobody would admit that they met someone online, and now if you open the New York

Times and you look at the marriage announcements in every announcement it says what site that they met their spouse on. So, it has become the norm.

QUEST: Grant, thank you for coming in on Valentine's Day giving us a different perspective, I wish I had a rose or two for you, only the digital

variety for you, sir, but I treat and a pleasure to have you with us.

We'll have a Profitable Moment, never mind the love, that concentrate on the money after the break.


QUEST: Tonight's PROFITABLE MOMENT, For the employees of Delta Airlines it is an extremely profitable moment or at least Valentine's Day, system-wide

each employee will get a profit of around -- a profit sharing around $13,000. The company has given away $1.1 billion about 25% of the profits

give or take. It is an interesting philosophy and as the Delta chief exec on this program says that is the first time any company has given away more

than billion 3 years in a row.

I think the important thing here is what it says about the airline industry that is now making profits, although not albeit very good profits with the

potential for losses on the horizon unless they get their act together when it comes to revenue and pricing. The airline industry has always been a

very tricky one to make money. To be sure as Delta has proven and United and all the other US carriers that do profit-sharing, they are able to give

money away now but let no one be certain that they can continue as they continue flying as they have been.

[17:00:00] And that's Quest Means Business for tonight, I am Richard Quest in London, whatever you are up to in the hours ahead, I hope it is

profitable. I am back in New York tomorrow.