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Delta CEO pledges better security in wake of Christmas Day terror attempt

By Laura Batchelor, CNN
  • Richard Anderson says he is disappointed at Northwest Airlines security breach
  • Anderson is CEO of Delta Air Lines, the parent company of Northwest
  • Explosives were smuggled aboard plane in Christmas Day terror attempt
  • Anderson pledged airline would continue to work with authorities to improve security

New York (CNN) -- The head of Delta Air Lines says he is disappointed that a suspected terrorist was able to bring explosives on board a Christmas Day flight despite the company's efforts to follow federal safety regulations.

"The work that we've done over the last decade really ought to give us a better result than the peril that our crews and passengers faced on Christmas," Delta CEO Richard Anderson said Thursday in a recorded message to employees.

Anderson was referring to a botched attempt to blow up a Northwest Airlines passenger jet en route from Amsterdam, Netherlands to Detroit, Michigan on December. Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab is suspected of attempting to ignite explosives in his underwear to bring down the plane, which had 278 passengers and 11 crew members aboard.

Anderson added that Delta, which owns Northwest, has followed all guidelines set by the government since the 1996 mid-air explosion of TWA Flight 800 -- which killed all 230 people aboard -- and the September 11, 2001, terror attacks.

He pledged that the airline would continue to work with the federal Transportation Security Administration to quickly implement new security measures promptly.