Issue No. 812
A Hot Summer for U.S. Airlines?
U.S. airline executives believe the worst of the pandemic is behind us.
Pushing Back: Inside the Issue
To hear U.S. airline executives tell it, the summer ahead could be a bonanza, as travelers cooped up at home during the pandemic take to the airways in huge numbers. They say travelers will flock to beaches and outdoor leisure destinations at a level, if not quite 2019, approaching that from before the pandemic. Are they right? More of the U.S. population is vaccinated, and more states are reopening. But meanwhile, worrying Covid-19 outbreaks are being reported around the country.
In Europe, airline executives are more cautiously optimistic, eyeing the fall as when the recovery will get going. But Europe, with some exceptions, is behind the U.S. in vaccinations. Meanwhile, India, which had managed to keep the disease somewhat controlled, reported the largest-ever single day of infections anywhere since the pandemic began. And the disease continues its rampage across Brazil, with outbreaks in both countries worrying epidemiologists about dangerous new viral variants.
One thing everyone can agree on is that any recovery this summer (something Aircastle's CEO Mike Inglese said was "ambiguous") will be powered by leisure travelers. United, American, and Delta think business travel could start to recover by the second half of the year, but Southwest CEO Gary Kelly warned it could take years to come back and may not fully return to pre-pandemic levels.
Elsewhere in the issue, JetBlue is going to London, SpiceJet is coming to the U.S., and airlines all around the world are going to the beach. Canada didn't quite get to more airline aid in its federal budget, and Ryanair continues to fight against more state aid to Europe's airlines.
"We don't really like selling $1,000 fares anyway. We'd like to make a lot of money selling lower fares."Alaska Airlines CFO Shane Tackett
The Airline Weekly Lounge Podcast
New episodes drop every week and are available wherever you get your podcasts and on AirlineWeekly.com. In the latest podcast, Edward "Ned" Russell and Madhu Unnikrishnan digest U.S. airline industry earnings (so far) and discuss executives' optimism. Listen to the episode.