Issue No. 861
Counting on 2023
Airlines Outside of the U.S. Increasingly Look to 2023 for Their Recovery
Pushing Back: Inside the Issue
The recovery was looking good until a laundry list of non-pandemic issues got in the way. With results in from almost every major U.S. airline, the outlook is both bright and dim: Profits are set to return at most in the second quarter and continue through the rest of the year, but operations will be hamstrung by everything from staffing to rocket launches at Cape Canaveral. And the staffing concerns are not just with pilots. They range from crew training backlogs to competition for entry-level employees, and even air traffic controllers.
But not everywhere is on the same recovery track as U.S. airlines. The Chinese Big 3, once the pandemic leaders, widened their losses in the first quarter and pushed off any significant international travel recovery until at least 2023. Lockdowns in major Chinese cities, including Shanghai, are expected to only deepen the losses for Air China, China Eastern, and China Southern in the second quarter.
Consolidation is picking up. Tata Sons is moving to fully acquire AirAsia India and merge it with Air India Express in a deal that would build on its January purchase of Air India. And in South America, Avianca, in a somewhat surprise move, has announced plans to acquire budget competitor Viva Air, though a merger is not in play, yet.
The Airline Weekly Lounge Podcast
Edward “Ned” Russell and Madhu Unnikrishnan are in the thick of first-quarter earnings. The takeaway so far: Demand changed for the better in March but summer may not be as rosy as many hoped, at least for travelers. Staffing concerns continue to weigh on schedules, threatening limited and pricey options for those with pent-up demand to travel. Listen to the episode, and go here for an archive of the 'Lounge.