Brighter Skies: The United States’ Airline Recovery Gets Off To A Flying Start
Even as the advent of the Delta variation of the coronavirus clouds the prognosis for an international recovery, US airlines are seeing profits return and hoping that the rise of the Delta variant of the coronavirus will not derail a domestic travel resurgence.
While overall travel still below pre-pandemic levels, it far outpaces the anemic volumes of a year ago, three of the four largest US carriers announced second-quarter profits over the previous week.
In a statement to workers on Thursday, American Chief Executive Doug Parker and President Robert Isom stated, “Simply put, people are ready to travel again.”
After announcing the company’s first profit since the onset of the Covid-19 outbreak, they declared, “The green flag has dropped, and we are well on our path toward recovery.”
The good news comes amid fears that the United States is on the verge of another outbreak of the deadly virus.
As the Delta variety causes high spikes in illnesses in areas where vaccination rates are low, US officials are warning of a “pandemic of the unvaccinated.”
However, airline officials are confident that the growing number of instances would not detract from the booming domestic travel industry. However, they are concerned that a labor scarcity in the United States may stymie their attempts to hire and expand operations.
Last week, Delta Air Lines Chief Executive Ed Bastian stated, “We have not observed any decline or drop in demand looking out over the next one to 90 days, which is about as far as our crystal ball can go right now.” “We are aware that the majority of our customers have been vaccinated.”
Bookings “continue to get stronger and stronger every week,” according to United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby.
“We believe the most likely result is that demand continues to recover virtually unabated,” he said.
The timetable for normal international travel, which is still tightly restricted by states, particularly the United States, which has yet to open up to European passengers, is less apparent.
“Airlines indicated in April that the summer travel season to Europe was unlikely,” said Peter McNally, a Third Bridge analyst. “What’s going on in Europe with the Delta variant is complicated.”
American made a $19 million profit in the third quarter, compared to a $2.1 billion loss in the same period the previous year. $1.4 billion in government money were used to keep airline staff on the payroll, which helped enhance the results.
Revenues increased to $7.5 billion, nearly five times what they were a year before, thanks to the carrier’s 44 million customers. Brief News from Washington Newsday.