Delta Air Lines, Inc. (NYSE: DAL) CEO Ed Bastien expects business travel to return for the most part.
âBy the end of next year, I think we’ll be back 80% to 90% of where we were before the pandemic,â Bastian said in recent remarks to the Detroit Economic Club.
Delta CEO COVID-19 recovery projections: Taking an optimistic stance, Bastian said Delta hired 8,000 employees this year.
Delta predicts an âoverall load factor of 40% by May and up to 90% by Julyâ of 2022, he said.
Load factor is the percentage of seats used and is a critical measure of the health of any airline.
As Delta and others suffered major setbacks during the coronavirus pandemic, Bastian said he was extremely proud of his team and the progress that had already been made.
With a lot of ambiguity that still plagues the industry and what the future holds, Bastian was candid about the challenges and obstacles during the October 29 conference at the Westin Book Cadillac in downtown Detroit, discussing many points ranging from vaccine mandates to sentiments within the broader industry outside of Delta.
âThere is a huge pent-up demand, but [the airline industry] is still recovering. “
Travelers return to airports: In terms of capacity at individual airports, Bastian said “we have already come back to 80% in Detroit”.
Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport is Michigan’s largest airport and is a major hub for Delta and other airlines such as Spirit Airlines Incorporated (NYSE: SAVE) and Southwest Airlines Company (NYSE: LUV).
The airport is used for a significant number of international flights and connections. Bastian said he was confident in Delta’s ability to recover and move forward in world travel.
âIn the spring and summer, I think you’re going to see a lot of international travel. I think summer 2022 is going to look like domestic travel in 2021, “he said.” Our world needs to be together.
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Bastian on the effects of remote work: Remote working has changed the dynamics of business travel, but Bastian said it wasn’t necessarily negative.
Delta saw the possibility for many workers to be remote as an opportunity for them to travel more and work from unique destinations.
Many business travelers can take advantage of remote work to travel for âwork cations,â he said.
âHaving Zoom meetings, etc. – it actually allows you to take your desk with you. It doesn’t prevent mobility, it allows mobility. “
Related Link: Delta Air Lines: Third Quarter Earnings Outlook
Delta CEO Ed Bastian speaks in Detroit. Photo by Jeff Kowalsky.
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