- Delta made news earlier this week when it said from May 1 it would no longer block middle seats, a coronavirus-mitigation tactic that Delta will be the last to abandon. This, despite the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reporting this week that an empty middle seat reduces virus transmission.
- Delta will increase the number of seats available to sell by almost one-third. Because of the policy, Delta had been operating more flights during the pandemic than its competitors, so opening up the middle seat will allow it to serve the expected surge in summer capacity without having to put more aircraft in the sky, Bastian said.
Bastian expects demand to surge as a population that’s largely been cooped up for 13 months resumes taking summer vacations and visiting family and friends.
- Travel restrictions are easing as states drop quarantine requirements and lift shelter-at-home rules. Furthermore, consumers have saved a record amount during the pandemic, and Delta executives believe they will be eager to spend those savings on leisure travel.
- Business travel is about 20 percent of pre-pandemic levels, which is better than it was at the end of 2020, when corporate travel was about 15 percent of 2019. Hauenstein said one-third of Delta’s corporate customers expect to resume some travel by the next quarter,
- Delta reported a $1.5 billion first-quarter loss on revenues of $4.2 billion, down 65 percent from March 2019. (Airlines are comparing this year’s results with 2019, as they began to experience the pandemic’s effects in March of last year.)
- The company’s first quarter loss was offset by $1.2 billion in payroll support from the federal government. This benefit will continue, as Bastian confirmed the company will take payroll support funds provided in the most recent round of coronavirus economic aid. Capacity fell by 55 percent from 2019.
- Bookings are approaching 85 percent of 2019 levels, and with the resumption in selling middle seats, Delta expects revenues to be 45-50 percent of 2019 in the third quarter.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reignited the debate over whether airlines should be blocking middle seats just as airlines thought it was settled.
- A newly publicized study found that maskless flyers could spread COVID-19 at a higher rate when middle seats were not blocked, Insider’s Hilary Brueck reported. Flyers on opposite ends of a three-seat row with the middle open reduced their risk of exposure by 57%, the study said.
- Multiple airlines, including American Airlines, United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, and Southwest Airlines, deferred to the trade organization Airlines for America on the issue when reached for comment by Insider.
- “Multiple scientific studies confirm that the layers of protection significantly reduce risk, and research continues to demonstrate that the risk of transmission onboard aircraft is very low,” a spokesperson for Airlines for America told Insider, indicating no changes would be recommended to airlines
- The trade organization also pointed to Department of Defense and Harvard studies, as well as data from the International Air Transport Association, finding low transmission rates among passengers since the start of the pandemic.
- “The airlines will look at it and go, ‘Oh, that’s nice — moving along,'” Harteveldt said.
- A hiring trends survey conducted by online aviation jobs website JSfirm.com indicates that many companies predict at least moderate growth in 2021 as the economy continues to rebound from the coronavirus pandemic. Pilots, aircraft maintenance technicians, and avionics specialists remain in the highest demand, the company said.
- JSfirm.com Managing Partner Sam Scanlon said that although “airlines make the headlines,” the small- to medium-sized companies that “make up the majority of our infrastructure made it through the past year and are now gearing up for growth.”
- The company has continued to log an increase in traffic from both job seekers and companies looking to hire personnel, Scanlon said.
- United has just unveiled a new not-so-subtle ad campaign targeted at Southwest. The ads try to appeal to consumers primarily on two levels — United flies more places nonstop, and United has more “roots” in Denver. The ads encourage customers to accept “nothing less than mile high standards.”
- American just announced hiring 300 pilots this Fall
- It appears as though they will be hiring 600 in 2022
- All CJOs will be honored
- All current pilots, return to flying status by end of summer
- It appears as though the flow will be resuming as well
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Information changes regularly, what is reflected here is current as of April 20, 2021.