US airlines have been empowered with the return of customers looking to travel within or outside of its borders. However, the country’s largest airlines continue to lament the loss of two particularly lucrative businesses: international travel and business travel. At least one of them could recover this summer.
In an interview with the New York Times over the weekend, Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, said she expected the European Union to ease travel restrictions on vaccinated American tourists, which could allow the aviation industry to make money at its busiest Travel season of the year.
“International long-haul aviation represents a significant opportunity for United,” United Airlines chief commercial officer Andrew Nocella told investors last week. “We have seen in the past few weeks that immediately after a country provides evidence of a vaccine, recreational demand quickly returns to 2019 levels.”
American Airlines and United earlier this month announced that international travel remained roughly 80 percent lower than in 2019. They and other airlines expect strong domestic demand this summer, and the restoration of transatlantic travel could be an urgent matter for the industry needed boost to give it works to generate profits again.
American, Delta Air Lines and United all reported losses of more than $ 1 billion for the first three months of the year. Southwest Airlines reported a small profit of $ 116 million, despite the CEO saying the airline would have lost $ 1 billion without government assistance.
The news of the reopening of the EU to vaccinated American tourists was also welcomed by Willie Walsh, director general of the International Air Transport Association, a global group in the aviation industry, who said it could bode well for other airlines too.
In a statement, he said coordination between the European Commission and industry is essential “so that airlines can plan within public health benchmarks and schedules that allow unconditional travel for those vaccinated,” not just Americans but also for passengers from other countries.