Issue No. 837
The Leisure Travel Lifeline
With Road Warriors Still Largely Sidelined, Holidaygoers Save Airlines' Results
Pushing Back: Inside The Issue
Leisure, leisure, leisure. If this pandemic has taught us anything, it's that almost everything we knew about the airline industry is no longer true. Everyone has a guess on when business travel will return, but no one has a crystal ball (or, at least, not one that actually works). In the meantime, as concerns over the Delta variant recede and vaccination rates rise, holidaygoers are keeping airlines in the air. And in fact, they're literally taking business travelers' seats, with more airlines reporting that vacationers, not road warriors, are sitting up front.
Meanwhile, Delta and United are stepping up flights in New York — is this to capitalize on surging demand, or is it "slot squatting" now that the FAA is restoring its use-it-or-lose-it requirements at the area's constrained airports? And manufacturers are in the hot seat. Airbus is allaying analysts' fears and says its supply chain will be ready for its planned massive ramp up in production. It has to keep those lines humming, with its almost-7,000 aircraft backlog. On the other hand, the best thing that can be said about Boeing's quarter is that it narrowed its loss; the U.S. airframer is struggling with all kinds of regulatory, production, and delivery woes with three of its marquee aircraft programs.
In the week ahead, the European carriers continue reporting their earnings, and the story is likely to be similar to what we've heard: Leisure is king. Although no one seems to know when business travel will return (or if it will return at the same level), consensus is building that the air transport system will look like what we knew in 2019 by the end of 2024.
The Airline Weekly Lounge Podcast
This week in the Lounge, Ned Russell and Madhu Unnikrishnan chew over why JetBlue is so optimistic, and why the best thing that can be said about Boeing's quarter was that it narrowed its losses. Later, Avianca had its day in court. Listen to the episode here. And a full archive of the Airline Weekly Lounge can be found here.
Skift Aviation Forum, November 17
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.