Issue No. 836

All Eyes on Business Travel

U.S. Airlines Pin Hope on January For Road Warriors' Return

Pushing Back: Inside the Issue

More carriers reported their third-quarter earnings and, for most, it was a tale of two quarters: Strong demand in July and a precipitous drop in September as a new surge in Covid-19 sapped demand. Even Volaris, which now says it is in a better shape than it was before the pandemic, said the Delta variant eroded customer confidence. But the fourth quarter looks good, with holiday demand remaining strong. And most airline CEOs think road warriors will return in force in January. Are they right? Prior predictions haven't been borne out but maybe, with vaccinations becoming more widespread and offices due to reopen, this time there is real reason to hope.

Premium leisure is a thing, and it's unlikely to go away even as business travel heats back up. Delta and United both said so, with the former putting more premium seats on its aircraft to capture more of this segment. Hawaiian is investing in seats as well, with plans for 34 lie-flat seats on its Boeing 787s, almost twice as many as it has on its Airbus A330s. EasyJet and United signaled their faith in at least the business travel recovery with the opening of new lounges in London and Washington, D.C.

Norse Atlantic thinks it will have its Norwegian AOC and its U.S. permissions in hand in time for it to enter the crowded transatlantic market next summer. Why crowded? Airlines have a lot of aircraft that aren't expected to fly to Asia, so they're pointing them at the Atlantic water jump. But Norse thinks its low-cost product will appeal to passengers not ready to fork out premium fares.

European carriers begin reporting their third-quarter earnings next week. We'll find out then if the optimism in the U.S. is shared across the Atlantic.

The Airline Weekly Lounge Podcast

Edward "Ned" Russell and Madhu Unnikrishnan digest United's third-quarter earnings in this latest episode of the Lounge and observe that airline CEO predictions about the recovery run the gamut from United CEO Scott Kirby's extreme bullishiness to the more cautious optimism expressed by Southwest CEO Gary Kelly and Avianca CEO Adrian Neuhauser. And will Norse Atlantic make a go of low-cost longhaul? Find out in this week's show. A full archive of the Airline Weekly Lounge is here.

Skift Aviation Forum

Join us at the Skift Aviation Forum, which is coming online on November 17. Airline Weekly members can register for free now. Speakers include Air Lease Corp.'s Steven Udvar-Hazy, American's Doug Parker, KLM's Pieter Elbers, and more. Sign in and join us

Weekly Skies

American Airlines is bullish on the business travel recovery. The carrier expects revenue from the lucrative segment to fully recover by the end of 2022, joining the likes of Emirates in taking an overtly optimistic stance on the return of corporate flyers.

State of the Unions

Talks between Alaska Airlines and its pilots union took a turn when the pilots asked management to bring their benefits up to par with crews at competing airlines. The development is the latest chapter in negotiations that have run for…

Routes and Networks

European airlines are duking it out for the Ukrainian market a week after the EU and Ukraine signed a new open-skies agreement. While it's early days yet, Europe's growth juggernauts Ryanair and Wizz Air are already making plays for the…


Hawaiian Airlines historically has been conservative with premium cabins, installing outdated products and adding fewer seats than competitors. But the carrier is making a big bet on flat-bed seats for its new Boeing 787s as it emerges from the pandemic,…

Landing Strip

Discounter EasyJet and legacy United Airlines both opened new passenger lounges last week. For the former, it was its first foray into the category with a new The Gateway by EasyJet lounge at London Gatwick, its largest base. On the…

Feature Story

By most accounts, leisure demand across the Atlantic Ocean next summer will be strong, with some arguing that leisure traffic could best even the summer of 2019. Airlines on both sides of the ocean have aircraft to spare, with travel…