- The labor union representing American Airlines (AAL.O) pilots said it will begin informational picketing in coming weeks at the carrier’s major hubs to protest their work schedule, fatigue, and lack of adequate accommodation over the summer.
- “Our airline needs scheduling practices that support the safety margin, respect pilots’ and passengers’ needs, and de-risk American Airlines to protect and improve revenue,” the union said.
- American did not immediately respond to a request for comment outside regular business hours.
- They were the first U.S. airline to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine for its employees. And yesterday, United said that they will put their unvaccinated employees on temporary leave starting October 2. To talk about how all of this is working, we’re joined now by the CEO of United Airlines, Scott Kirby.
- Kirby: “I’m encouraged to see the president taking this step, but we did it because it was just the right thing to do. And because of that, we were comfortable doing it a month ago. And by the end of this month, we will have all of our employees vaccinated.”
- “Over 50% of our unvaccinated employees have already been vaccinated.”
- “So for all of our employees that have either a religious or a medical exemption that cannot be accommodated in the workplace, they’ll go on unpaid leave. It varies by work group. But for customer-facing employees, those employees will be on unpaid leave until the risk of COVID is low enough that we deem it safe. And for other groups, there will be testing requirements that’ll be put in place, but it’s likely that they will be on unpaid leave for some period of time while we work out all the details, the logistics of the testing requirements and make sure that those testing requirements conform to their collective bargaining agreements.”
- Airlines warned Thursday of another pandemic-driven hit to profits in the months ahead, as the Delta variant interrupts a rebound in air travel.
- Major carriers said new travel bookings have slowed in recent weeks and cancellations have increased, tempering airlines’ outlook after less than two months earlier some had projected the recovery would continue to strengthen.
- A pickup in business travel that took root over the summer has stalled, airline executives said Thursday. Airlines had been counting on offices to reopen, bringing business travelers back out this fall when summer vacation traffic typically slows down. But many large companies are now delaying returns to the workplace, in some cases through the rest of the year.
- Some carriers, including Delta Air Lines Inc., said they still expect third-quarter profits despite lower-than-expected revenue. Others, including United and Southwest Airlines Co., have said they now anticipate losses during the period.
- “People are still traveling,” Delta Chief Executive Officer Ed Bastian said at Thursday’s investor conference. “It’s probably about a 90-day pause in return to travel for that next leg up that we were expecting to see, but it’s coming,” Mr. Bastian said.
- Southwest flagged the bookings slowdown last month, warning that it would be difficult to turn a profit in the current quarter without accounting for the impact of government payroll assistance. Its revenue in August came in at the low end of the forecast it put forward last month, and the carrier said Thursday that the weakness in leisure bookings has so far continued for September and into October.
- There are signs that travelers are becoming more inured to the pandemic’s ebbs and flows. Carriers said that the recent traffic declines are smaller than the sharp drops during previous spikes in Covid-19 cases. The number of people passing through U.S. airports on peak days over the Labor Day holiday weekend neared highs seen earlier this summer, and some airlines said that winter holiday bookings appear to be on track.
- Airline stock prices have been sliding since the beginning of summer, though they generally are still higher than at the start of the year. Shares jumped Thursday after initially falling when carriers disclosed their tempered expectations for the year.
- International travel remains muted. Demand for overseas trips perked up as countries in Europe started allowing Americans to visit more freely over the summer. However, bookings have cooled recently, partly due to the normal seasonal slowdown, but also because of rising Covid-19 case numbers and “constantly changing travel restrictions,” Deutsche Bank analysts wrote this week.
- Spirit Airlines has signed leasing agreements to finance 15 of its upcoming Airbus A320neo family aircraft deliveries with Air Lease Corporation (ALC).
- Split between ten new Airbus A321neo and five Airbus A320neo aircraft, the secured financial acquisition method for these aircraft helps the airline get on track for its planned capacity increases through the end of 2021 and into 2022.
- The ten Airbus A321neos will be delivered to Spirit starting in 2023 and running through 2024. These aircraft will be delivered to Spirit Airlines from ALC’s order book with Airbus.
- The agreement today is not for new order book increases but is accounted for within the carrier’s fleet plans.