Domestic leisure travel demand back to pre-pandemic levels, airline CEOs say

Loading...

Load Error

The travel recovery is officially here, two airline CEOs said on Wednesday.

Speaking at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Aviation Summit, United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby said that demand for domestic leisure travel was back at pre-pandemic levels.

Want more airline-specific news? Sign up for TPG’s free new biweekly Aviation newsletter!

“Domestic leisure demand has almost entirely recovered,” Kirby said. “It tells you something about that pent up desire to travel, the pent up desire to remake those connections.”

Kirby confirmed that the airline would see cashflow return to positive levels for the month of March, something the airline suggested was a possibility in an SEC filing earlier this month.

Notably, even as domestic leisure travel recovers, business and long-haul travel remain severely depressed.

“Business demand is still down over 80%, and of course international borders, particularly long-haul, are still closed,” he said. “So those are huge chunk of our business that are still almost at zero, but it’s really nice to see that recovery.”

More :From battling ‘frenemy’ Delta to Oneworld to Virgin America, outgoing Alaska Air CEO leaves his mark

During a press conference marking Alaska Airlines’ inclusion in the Oneworld alliance, CEO Ben Minicucci was similarly optimistic, noting that the airline would earn positive cash flow for the month.

Although the airline typically sees about 30% of its customers traveling for business, and the rest for leisure or to visit friends and relatives, Minicucci said that the airline currently sees leisure demand recovering faster, something in line with what other industry insiders have observed.

Notably, leisure travel tends to offer significantly lower yields than price-agnostic business travel, while domestic flying does not always offer the same profits as long-haul travel.

Still, the booming demand — including current flying and forward bookings, as Americans book summer trips in anticipation of being vaccinated by then — is a welcome sign for airlines and the broader tourism industry.

Airlines are adding new routes and enhancing existing ones to take advantage of the summer demand — United is flying more than 100% of its 2019 capacity to Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America, and South America, where some countries have reopened to Americans.

Featured image by Alex Tai/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

SPONSORED: With states reopening, enjoying a meal from a restaurant no longer just means curbside pickup.

And when you do spend on dining, you should use a credit card that will maximize your rewards and potentially even score special discounts. Thanks to temporary card bonuses and changes due to coronavirus, you may even be able to score a meal at your favorite restaurant for free. 

These are the best credit cards for dining out, taking out, and ordering in to maximize every meal purchase.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Source: Read Full Article