Issue No. 831

A Crisis Like No Other

What Makes the Covid Crisis Different From Past Airline Crises?

Pushing Back: Inside the Issue

Crises have wracked the airline industry almost since its inception. Wars, diseases, economic recessions and depressions, jet fuel price spikes — the list is almost endless and illustrates an industry almost uniquely prone to exogenous shocks. The Covid-19 pandemic started as a crisis like no other, affecting airlines in every corner of the world. A "pancession," as we called it in an Airline Weekly issue. And almost two years in, the pandemic is proving its difference in a new way.

Unlike past exogenous shocks, the Covid pandemic will be easier for airlines to climb out of. First, the global economy has shaken off its initial shock and is back to growing. Second, airlines took the painful but necessary steps early in the crisis to reduce headcount and costs, and to rationalize their networks and fleets. Governments — not all, but many — stepped in with support. These factors leave airlines in a good position to meet demand as it starts to return. Boeing upped its 20-year aerospace forecast to $9 trillion this year from $8.5 trillion last year, and expects the recovery to begin accelerating pretty quickly from 2023. Lessors are similarly bullish about the industry's long-term growth.

That's the good news. The bad news, of course, is that the near-term looks less rosy, as business travel remains depressed and travel restrictions persist. The yearend holidays remain strong, though, and airline leaders now expect the first quarter of next year to mark a fuller recovery.

The Airline Weekly Lounge Podcast

This week in the Lounge, Edward Russell and Madhu Unnikrishnan chew over why Australia’s competition regulator denied Qantas and Japan Airlines a joint venture. Will Fly Play buck the odds and make low-cost longhaul work? And, with gratuitous references to unicorns, Sasquatches, white whales, and a menagerie other mythical animals, the team considers Boeing’s $9 trillion aerospace outlook. For a full archive of the podcast, go here. A new episode drops every week.

Weekly Skies

The new strategic partnership between American Airlines and Gol checks some important boxes for the two carriers. American gets much deeper access to South America’s largest domestic market — Brazil — something that Chief Financial Officer Derek Kerr has said…

Landing Strip

The dreams of a new terminal west of Sepulveda Boulevard are finally coming true at Los Angeles International Airport. Operator Los Angeles World Airports is set to add Terminal 9, located across the boulevard from the airport's terminal horseshoe, at…

Routes and Networks

The Lufthansa Group’s budget arm Eurowings is making a play for the Swedish market as the competitive landscape continues to shift in Europe. The move realizes the German group’s long-held aim to capture a larger share of the Scandinavian market…

Sky Money

Lufthansa Group has launched a €2.1 billion ($2.5 billion) capital increase. Proceeds will repay the €1.5 billion Silent Participation I from the German government's Covid-19 stabilization package and boost liquidity. In addition, citing indications of a "sustained demand recovery" and…

State of the Unions

American Airlines regional carrier Piedmont could have a strike on its hands, if its flight attendants vote to authorize a labor action next month. Piedmont's flight attendants are expected to vote on whether to authorize a strike next month after…


Boeing's annual Commercial Market Outlook (CMO) paints a rosy picture for air transport's 20-year growth prospects, pandemic notwithstanding. In fact, Boeing predicts now that after 2024, airline traffic will return to the level the company had forecast for that year…