The tourism industry was probably the industry that suffered the most because of the pandemic. Increasing number of hotels closed their doors for visitors since they were not able to operate for months without guests. But it’s not only the hotels, here also are restaurants and bars, airline companies, rent-a-car companies etc.
The industry slowly started to recover at the beginning of the summer as the number of cases was low and stable across the country. However, with the recent Delta wave, airlines are again struggling with ticket sales because people are uncertain how the Covid-19 will develop in the upcoming period.
Multiple airline companies on Thursday said in an announcement that the recent situation is hurting the whole industry and the recover seems to be further from this point of view.
The decrease in passengers was mostly seen in August and the same is expected to last in September and October. The few summer months that seemed a little bit better compared to the whole previous year are simply not enough for the industry to recover.
Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian said Thursday that people are still traveling, but key segments — business and international flyers — are still largely missing. He said the rise in COVID-19 cases won’t derail the travel recovery but will delay it by 90 to 120 days.
Delta expects to report a profit for the third quarter, but it will be much lower compared to their initial forecast, Delta officials say.
The same applies for United Airlines since they also expect a profit for the third quarter, but it will be very low compared to their expectations. If the Covid-19 spread and rising number of cases continue in the next months, they will report a heavy loss in the fourth quarter.
American Airlines said a slowdown that started in August has continued into September, and the airline further lowered its outlook for third-quarter revenue.
Southwest Airlines reported that leisure travel has weakened, with more cancellations and softer bookings for September and October. Southwest said, however, booking patterns for the winter holidays look normal.
A positive news for the airline companies is that some experts claim that the most recent wave already reached its peak, something that is confirmed by the recent numbers too. The seven-day average of cases is roughly flat compared with two weeks ago.
Airline companies are confident that the bookings will took off again as soon as the number of Covid-19 starts to go finally go down, something that was also seen with the previous waves.
Americans have been willing to travel over the summer and during shorter holiday periods. Air travel over the Labor Day weekend approached 2019 levels — on two days, the Transportation Security Administration screened more than 2 million travelers.
However, just days after the holiday weekend the number of passengers drastically fell once again averaging 28% passengers less compared to 2019.
The most recent hot topic is the vaccine requirement for airline workers. As multiple sources confirmed in the last couple of days, several airlines already informed their workers that they will enforce vaccine mandate for employees. As expected, this step was not welcome for the workers, despite the fact that majority of the workers are already vaccinated.
The rest of the companies are expected to also follow this trend in the upcoming weeks. There will be vaccine exemptions for workers because of a religious believes or medical reasons, but those workers will reportedly be put on unpaid leave.
One thing is for sure, if the current spread of the virus doesn’t slow down, the situation might become much worse for both the airline companies and their workers.