Issue No. 830

Hope for the Holidays

As the Delta Variant Depresses Demand, Airlines Pin Their Recovery Hopes on the Holidays

Pushing Back: Inside the Issue

It was a good summer for airlines in many parts of the world, all things being relative. Leisure demand came back as people who had been locked down for months rushed to take long-delayed summer vacations. And think back just over a month ago — airlines were confident that business travel would resume in September, as it usually did before the pandemic.

We know how that story went. The virus that causes Covid-19 had other plans, and its Delta variant laid many parts of the world low. Companies are delaying when they plan to reopen their offices. Conferences and trade shows are being cancelled or going virtual (although some persist). Airlines that were bullish on the fall now have pushed their forecasts for profits back to the new year. But they remain hopeful about the yearend holidays and say bookings so far remain resilient.

Leisure demand will lead the way out of the pandemic. That is conventional wisdom at this point. And airlines are making structural changes to accommodate that shift. Whether it's by prioritizing their budget subsidiaries, as Japan Airlines is doing, or by cementing pandemic-era leisure destinations to their route maps, like most U.S. carriers, airlines are taking the lesson to heart.

The Airline Weekly Lounge Podcast

This week in the Lounge, Edward Russell and Madhu Unnikrishnan discuss why Philippine Airlines Chapter 11 bankruptcy surprised no one. The two also discuss Porter Airlines' restart, and Ryanair’s latest fight with Boeing. Despite some deep reporting, Madhu was unable to discern whether Mr. Porter, the Canadian carrier’s raccoon spokescritter, got a refresh when Porter updated its aircraft cabins. For a full archive of the podcast, go here. A new episode drops every week.

Weekly Skies

There’s nothing like an unsolicited takeover bid to get airline management moving. Fresh off one such rejected offer, reportedly from Wizz Air, EasyJet has unveiled plans to capture more share from legacy competitors and become a “local airline” brand in many…


Archer Aviation's electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft took one small — but critical — step forward toward FAA certification last week. The regulator approved the "G-1 Issue Paper" for the company's Maker aircraft, a step that formally lays…

Routes and Networks

Southwest Airlines added 18 new cities to its route map during the pandemic, mainly to leisure-focused markets to capture as much of the depressed traffic as there was in the crisis. But, as it gears up for next year, the…