Airlines will lose $118.5 billion globally in 2020, according to the latest forecast by IATA.
In addition, carriers will burn through a projected $80 billion between the fourth quarter of this year and third quarter of next year, before potentially clawing their way back to profitability in the fall of 2021, IATA chief economist Brian Pearce said during the trade group's Annual General Meeting Tuesday, which is being held virtually.
In total, IATA projects the industry will lose $38.7 billion in 2021, with traffic recovering to approximately 50% of prepandemic 2021 projections. The continued losses are likely to drive more carriers out of business, Pearce said. IATA estimates that 40 to 50 airlines have shuttered during the Covid-19 crisis.
"I think it is inevitable that we are going to see a more consolidated industry in one or two years' time," Pearce said.
He credited the $173 billion in subsidies, loans and other support that governments have provided to airlines during the pandemic for preventing much broader damage thus far. But Pearce also noted that even airlines that ride out the crisis relatively well will emerge with weaker balance sheets and more debt. Overall, debt load in the industry has increased from $430 billion to $651 billion during the pandemic.
The IATA forecast incorporated recent news that Covid-19 vaccines will soon be ready for distribution. The trade group expects vaccination to be widespread enough to have a substantial impact on flyer numbers by the middle of next year. But distribution will be geographically uneven, with vaccination in the developing world likely to be slower than in wealthy countries.
On a regional level, IATA expects airlines in the Asia Pacific to have the lowest losses in 2021, largely because travel industry recovery in China and other countries in the region is way ahead of most of the world. North American airlines will fare next best , in large part due to the sizeable domestic air markets in the U.S. and Canada. Domestic flying has fared much better than international flying during the pandemic, with international demand marred by border closures and quarantines.
New York (CNN Business)Despite a record number of new Covid cases and the Centers for Disease Control recommending against traveling for Thanksgiving, Friday and Saturday were two of the busiest days at US airports since the pandemic brought air travel to a near halt in March.
The Transportation Security Administration screened slightly more than 1 million people at US airports on Friday. Saturday's screenings fell just short of that mark, but were enough to bring the two-day total to 2 million.
That's still only 42% of the volume screened on the Friday and Saturday before Thanksgiving a year ago, but it marks only the second- and third- busiest days for US airport traffic since mid-March. The only time that topped those days was October 18, when 1.03 million passengers were screened.
The rush of travelers comes on a day that Johns Hopkins University reported a record 195,542 new US Covid-19 cases confirmed. And it comes the day after the CDC issued its warning against traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday.
The rush of travelers comes on a day that Johns Hopkins University reported a record 195,542 new US Covid-19 cases confirmed. And it comes the day after the CDC issued its warning against traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday.
United Airlines (UAL) on Thursday said that it has seen some increase in flight cancellations and a drop-off in bookings with the rising number of Covid cases. Southwest (LUV) and American Airlines (AAL) are also reporting a decline in bookings, though they have yet to report any increase in canceled reservations.
Even so, US airlines are bracing for their busiest week since the start of the pandemic. American Airlines said it will increase its schedule by about 15% during Thanksgiving week, compared to the rest of November, from a daily average of 3,500 flights to more than 4,000 flights.
he airlines insist that the cleaning procedures used between flights, the exchange of fresh air in the cabin throughout flights and the hospital-quality air filters now used on planes make it safe to fly even during a pandemic outbreak. The airlines also insist passengers wear masks.
The CDC's concern is not about the spread of the disease during a flight, but rather whether large family gatherings during the holiday will spread cases of the disease, especially with hospitals in many part of the country already at capacity treating Covid patients.
The airline industry is neither encouraging nor discouraging holiday travel, the head of the industry's trade group said Thursday.
"Do we want to see them travel? Yes, but only if it's safe for them," said Nick Calio, CEO of Airlines for America. "There's a variety of factors involved in that for each individual traveler."
CNN's Pete Muntean and Gregory Wallace contributed to this report.
Reaching the Most Magical Place on Earth is about to get a little easier, thanks to a new deal signed between Walt Disney World Resort and passenger rail operator Brightline.
On Monday, Nov. 23, Brightline announced that it had reached an agreement with Walt Disney World Resort to open a new train station at Disney Springs, an area located just outside the Disney parks and filled with restaurants and shops.
Though Disney Springs isn’t located inside any of the four theme parks that make up Disney World, the parks can be easily accessed from the area using the resort’s transportation network.
When the new train line opens, travelers will be also able to catch a ride directly from or to Orlando International Airport and eventually South Florida, eliminating the need for a rental car. The new train station will also make it easier for out-of-state and international visitors wanting to explore both Central and South Florida in one trip. Few details around the timeline for this new Disney Springs station are currently available.
“Brightline will offer a car-free connection to the millions of visitors from around the state and the world who plan to make Walt Disney World Resort part of their vacation plans,” said Patrick Goddard, president of Brightline, in a statement.
“We’re excited to work with Brightline as they pursue the potential development of a train station at Walt Disney World Resort, a project that would support our local economy and offer a bold, forward-looking transportation solution for our community and guests,” added Jeff Vahle, president of Walt Disney World Resort, also in a statement.
According to The Points Guy, the Disney Springs station is just one of several expansions that travelers and local commuters can expect to see from Brightline.
The railroad began running between downtown Miami and West Palm Beach in 2018, and the roughly 140-mile extension to reach the Orlando airport is due to open in 2022. In addition, the railroad is building three new stations in South Florida, while the engineering and design work is already underway for an extension from Orlando to Tampa that would include the new Disney station.
By Eric Hanson
Executives are citing state restrictions as to why the park hasn't reopened.
Disneyland in California, which has been closed since mid-March due to the pandemic, is unlikely to reopen before the end of the year.
In an earnings call last week, senior executive vice president and chief financial officer, Christine McCarthy, said the park expects to remain closed until at least Dec. 31, citing current state regulations in California, Variety reported.
“We are extremely disappointed that the state of California continues to keep Disneyland closed despite our proven track record,” Disney CEO Bob Chapek said during the call.
Chapek said that the parks’ health and safety reopening procedures were “science-based” and that keeping the park closed was “decimating” small businesses in California’s Orange County.
In Florida and California, Disney has laid off 28,000 employees due to the pandemic closure.
Disneyland announced last week that its hotels would no longer accept reservations through the end of the year. Reservations for 2021 at the three Disneyland hotels — Disneyland Hotel, Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, and Paradise Pier Hotel — are not yet available online to book.
Walt Disney World in Florida reopened in July, with new COVID-19 precautions like temperature checks, social distancing, and increased disinfection of attractions. Guests are subject to new precautions, like a ban on eating and drinking while walking around the park. Although most attractions are open, the water parks at the resort are not expected to reopen until at least March 2021.
Disneyland Paris also reopened in the summer with new coronavirus protections but closed again in October after Europe entered a second lockdown. The park intends to reopen for the holidays but will temporarily shut back down in early 2021.
California has reported more than 1 million cases of COVID-19 this year and more than 18,000 deaths, according to the state Health Department.
MADRID (Reuters) - Spain will begin a comprehensive coronavirus vaccination programme in January and expects to have covered a substantial part of the population within six months, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Sunday.
He said Spain and Germany were the first European Union countries to have a complete vaccination plan in place.
“The campaign will start in January and have 13,000 vaccination points,” Sanchez told a news conference after a two-day online summit of G20 leaders.
“A very substantial part of the population will be able to be vaccinated, with all guarantees, in the first half of the year.”
Spain will implement a single national strategy, starting with “priority groups”, Sanchez said, adding that he would present the plan to the cabinet on Tuesday. He also said more health professionals would be recruited.
“We have a tough few months ahead of us but the road map has been drawn up,” Sanchez said.
Spain has western Europe’s second highest tally of confirmed coronavirus infections after France, with some 1.5 million cases and 46,619 deaths from COVID-19.
(This story corrects to change three months to six months in first and fourth paragraphs)
Reporting by Jessica Jones; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Frances Kerry
By Eric Hanson
IATA plans to release an app early next year that would display travelers' health data as part of its effort to open up the international travel market during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The app, to be called IATA Travel Pass, would enable healthcare providers to securely upload Covid test results and vaccination certificates to a users' account while also binding those documents to a traveler's identity to prevent misuse. Through the app, users would then display those documents to airlines and airports to facilitate travel.
Taken in whole, the app will serve the purpose of allowing passengers to seamlessly have their health credentials verified, either through a simple app click or via a QR code that would be scanned by airport authorities.
"Today borders are double locked. Testing is the first key to enable international travel without quarantine measures," explained IATA director general Alexandre de Juniac in a statement. "The second key is the global information infrastructure needed to securely manage, share and verify test data matched with traveler identities in compliance with border control requirements. That's the job of IATA Travel Pass."
The app is slated for release on Apple iOS in the first quarter of 2021 and on Android in the second quarter, Alan Murray Hayden, IATA's head of airport passenger and security products, said during a virtual press conference Monday.
The app will be free to users; airlines will pay a small fee per passenger to IATA.
IATA Travel Pass will be similar to the Commons Project Foundation's CommonPass, a digital health pass that has been developed in cooperation with the World Economic Forum, 37 countries, the CDC and Customs and U.S. Border Protection.
Hayden said IATA will work with other providers and is developing Travel Pass in order to open up the travel industry, rather than to compete.
"When nobody is flying, nobody is winning," he said.
Travel Pass will make use of blockchain technology so that testing centers can share documents directly with users. Customer data will not be stored, Hayden said.
The identity verification feature of the app, which also manages the test and vaccination certificates, will be powered by IATA One ID technology.
We occasionally receive questions from people asking about the current situation regarding safety and security in Mexico. To provide some perspective, listed here are six reasons which demonstrate how Mexico’s drug-related issues, which remain a body of work to address, do not make Mexico wholly unsafe.
Mexico continues to attract a record number of international visitors:
Mexico’s National Statistics Institute is responsible for collecting and reporting data on Mexico’s international visitors. In 2019, Mexico attracted over 45 million foreign visitors, making it one of the world’s top-ten most visited countries.
Despite negative news flow, especially about drug-related violence, people keep coming to Mexico. Statistics from foreign consulate records consistently show that the overwhelming majority of visits to Mexico pass trouble-free.
Mexico is one of the world’s most important economies. Mexico has a welcoming economy with policies that encourage trade and partnership. (Mexico has trade agreements with 46 countries around the world.) This, coupled with years of sound macro-economic management, have created an attractive environment for investors and foreign companies. Mexico took a positive approach to the NAFTA re-negotiations, advocating an agile trading framework to benefit all three countries involved.
NAFTA has been replaced by the USMCA and came into effect on July 1, 2020. Mexico is today one of the world’s few ‘trillion-dollar’ economies and mature nations are keen to work with Mexico.
No foreign resident exodus. In decades now long-past, when Mexico’s economy was less open and less stable, foreign residents would often flee home in the event of a peso crisis. Today, even with the drug-related flare-ups, no such exodus is taking place and, furthermore, we are seeing consistent demand from foreigners who are interested in relocating to Mexico. Mexico’s government is expecting its expat communities to grow over the coming decade, and offers choices in facilitation of this, as welcoming foreign residents —who bring their energy and capital to Mexico— creates significant mutual benefits. If Mexico is a wholly dangerous place to be, why are existing foreign residents staying put and inquiries for relocation to Mexico growing?
The violence is mostly confined to drug-gangs. When you drill down into the detail of the data, figures show that the surge of homicides in Mexico over the last decade has come about through criminal gang members fighting each other. Tourists, business visitors, and foreign residents are not being targeted by the drug gangs, and statistics from foreign consulates show that the overwhelming majority of visits to Mexico pass by trouble-free.
Mexico matters. Mexico is a good neighbor to the U.S. and is also one of the world’s most important emerging markets. Mexico and the U.S. share a broad range of common economic, cultural, social, and security interests and behind the scenes both nations continue to work closely together on issues concerning trade and security in efforts to bring prosperity and well-being to the continent they share.
Mexico’s underlying story remains strong. Notwithstanding the drug-related issues, the country’s macroeconomics are in good shape; Mexico has substantial oil and gas reserves as well as considerable mineral and precious metal wealth. In recent times, the country has been enacting structural reforms across key industrial sectors with the intention to transition the country’s economy away from being heavily dependent on oil and manufacturing. Foreign visitors keep coming despite the negative news flow; Mexico’s free trade agreements are bridges which cultivate understanding, trade and prosperity between the signatories of these accords.
In summary: Every day, tourists arrive in Mexico to rest themselves and enjoy its rich culture and heritage; business visitors arrive to trade, cultivate friendships and agree deals that create new wealth; and foreign residents living here are going about their lives normally and contributing positively in the Mexican communities they love calling home. These activities don’t make headlines, but they are indeed the real life experiences of people visiting and living safely in Mexico.
After furloughing 8,000 flight attendants in October, American Airlines is now facing a shortage. Amid the global pandemic and economic downturn, the airline has struggled to stay afloat without the federal aid that ran out on Oct. 1, 2020.
While the airline plans to recall staff in early 2021when the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines are expected to become available, the airline is still struggling to balance its shortage against the safety of its crew.
According to the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA), airline crew are being stretched thin due to the staff shortage. Because flight attendants are working longer hours, they’re also at an increased risk of COVID-19 exposure. In fact, the APFA reports a significant increase in “pandemic-related” sick leave in recent months.
Amid the global pandemic and economic downturn, it’s not entirely surprising that American Airlines is facing a flight attendant shortage. American Airlines has responded to these issues by stating it is working with the APFA to address these concerns.
Staffing issues are likely to persist through the holiday season. Despite warnings from the CDC to stay home during the holidays, the TSA reported more than a million passenger screenings this past Wednesday. As travel demand increases, flight attendants will likely face more challenges before additional crew can be recalled to lighten the load.
Delta Air Lines – usually loathe to cancel any flights – has cancelled hundreds of flights this Thanksgiving week.
It’s the busiest travel time of the 2020 year so far, but beginning as early as Tuesday night, Delta began cancelling flights. The unusual activity was first flagged by Gary Leff at View From the Wing using Flight Aware data.
According to Flight Aware, as of Noon Eastern time on Thanksgiving day alone, Delta cancelled 263 flights. The airline cancelled 96 flights on Wednesday Nov. 25, and as of now, has another 85 flights cancelled tomorrow, and another 25 on Saturday.
JohnnyJet founder and editor-in-chief John E. DiScala (aka Johnny Jet) told TPG, “I find it shocking Delta canceled so many flights because they’re known as the best-run airline in the country.”
Delta spokesman Anthony Black told TPG that a number of factors “have pressured our ability to timely staff several dozen scheduled flights. “We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused our customers, he said.
Black said the vast majority of customers have been rebooked on same-day flights, and noted that, “customers are proactively contacted with new flight details and have the options of adjusting their new booking, receiving eCredit for future travel or seeking a refund.”
Delta also reiterated its commitment to blocking middle seats as a safety measure during the coronavirus outbreak. (It’s one of only a few airlines that are still doing this). Black said the seat-blocking policies remain in effect despite the “operational adjustment period.”
It may have been as simple as not enough employees to cover added flights during the busy Thanksgiving week. Delta didn’t say what the various factors were.
An airline analyst told TPG on background that there are some serious labor issues between Delta management and the pilot’s union. Just this week, Delta pilots signed off on a deal that reduced some pay in exchange for the elimination of more than 1,700 involuntary furloughs set for Nov. 28.
The analyst told TPG, Delta may be dealing with a so-called “Blue flu,” where some pilots called in sick or refused to volunteer for flights because of potential job cuts and/or reductions in pay. The analyst said there may have been issues of misalignment with crewing and scheduling, and some unrealistic expectations about how many flight attendants and pilots might volunteer to work additional days during the Thanksgiving week.
TPG also heard from one Delta pilot who suggested it wasn’t a work slowdown or stoppage but a shortage of pilots for certain types of aircraft including the most-impacted 737s and A320s. He also said morale was actually high all things considered and that was why a majority of pilots had signed the recent deal to avoid furloughs. He suggested a lot of pilots were working on their days off over the holiday away from families, and despite another surge in COVID-19 cases.
Despite the troubling number of Americans traveling domestically this week amid the CDC’s warnings to stay home, the U.S. may soon open its borders to international travelers from Brazil and many European countries.
The United States may be lifting bans on non-U.S. citizens who were recently in Brazil, Britain, Ireland, and the 26 Schengen European nations, which include France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Switzerland, an exclusive report from Reuters this morning says.
According to the news service, who spoke to five separate U.S. and airline sources, the plan is moving forward with approval from the White House’s coronavirus task force, as well as other public health and federal agencies, but still needs final approval from the president. The potential plan would still prohibit those who have been in China and Iran.
The news — which is seen as a move to help airlines who have seen a 70.8-percent drop in international passengers — comes as Americans are being warned against Thanksgiving travel by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) because of the continuing spike in coronavirus cases across the nation.
he nation’s top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci has already been saying that the U.S. will see a “surge superimposed upon a surge,” after this week’s holiday travel, which has seen record numbers of passengers take to the sky since the coronavirus pandemic started spreading in March.
Despite the warnings about the dangers of this week’s domestic travel, the Reuters report says that the plan to allow more international travel is on track, though there is no timeline or a definitive decision yet.
Currently, non-U.S. residents who have been in those foregin countries in the previous 14 days are not allowed to enter the country unless they are in certain categories, which include “humanitarian travel, public health response, and national security.” Some business travelers, journalists, students, and investors and academics have also been allowed to enter, the report says. Before September, international travelers also had to come into the U.S. through 15 designated airports and were subjected to enhanced screening.
That said, the feeling isn’t reciprocal. As of now, the bulk of European nations aren’t allowing U.S. citizens to enter, with the exceptions being Ireland and England, where Americans can go, if they quarantine. England will soon be shortening the required self-isolation period from 14 days to five days.
Officials tell Reuters the plans seem to be on a forward-moving trajectory. “Conversations are ongoing between the federal government, international partners, and industry stakeholders on these matters,” a spokesperson for the U.S. Transportation Department told the outlet.
The pandemic has forced consumers to change their habits with industries such as travel among the worse affected.
A report from Accenture says that up to $318 billion in annual value will be diverted from travel to other industries if current reductions in air travel remain for the long term.
The Big Value Shift report reveals that even a moderate drop in airline demand could ripple across the entire airline ecosystem.
Already, senior executives of many large hotel groups and airlines are predicting a permanent dip in business travel of up to 15%.
However, last week at the New York Times Dealbook Conference, Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft, predicted 50% of business travel would go away.
The latest Accenture Consumer Pulse study, of more than 8,500 people in 19 countries, shows that 73% of consumers expect to feel most comfortable spending their free-time at home in the next six months.
The same research reveals that 61% of people would be uncomfortable taking a flight while 53% say they would be uncomfortable staying in a hotel.
The likely winners are digital entertainment, domestic tourism and outdoor pursuits.
Emily Weiss, global lead of Accenture's travel industry group, says: "Fundamental changes in behavior, including heavily reduced air travel and consumer discomfort in public spaces, creates opportunity in other areas. Companies need to innovate to drive new revenue streams and look at their ecosystem partnerships to offer value-added services that cater to new ways of working and the health-conscious consumer.
"For example, the hospitality sector can leverage existing assets to provide hotel rooms for day rates so people can work away from home, but still in a safe space. Critically, these efforts could also become a permanent and profitable avenue for growth in the post-pandemic era."
Groups such as Hilton with its WorkSpaces initiative and Accor, via its partnership and stake in Wojo, have already introduced schemes enabling people to use their rooms and spaces for work.
The report, which can be viewed here, concludes with advice for companies around ensuring business models are still relevant and the need for flexibility around operating models.
By Eric Hanson
Delta Air Lines' no-fly list continues to grow as "a tiny fraction" of travelers still refuses to wear a face mask.
"We’ve now added a total of nearly 550 people to our no-fly list for refusing to comply with Delta's mask requirement on board," Delta CEO Ed Bastian wrote in a memo to employees on Thursday obtained by The Hill. "Fortunately, that number represents a tiny fraction of our overall customers, the vast majority of whom follow our guidelines and appreciate the steps we are taking to keep them safe and healthy."
In its latest guidance issued Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that face masks are effective in protecting the wearer in addition to those around them. "Adopting universal masking policies can help avert future lockdowns, especially if combined with other non-pharmaceutical interventions such as social distancing, hand hygiene and adequate ventilation," the CDC concluded.
Delta has required all passengers to wear masks on its flights since May. In the months following, the carrier has been forced to remove some passengers from its planes for failing to comply with the policy. In September, a Delta flight traveling from Detroit to Los Angeles was forced to return to the gate after a passenger refused to don a face-covering.
"Delta customers and employees are required to wear a face mask, or appropriate cloth face covering over their nose and mouth throughout their travel, aligning with best practice guidelines from the CDC," Delta's policy states. "Plastic face shields may be used in addition to a mask but are not approved mask replacements. Any mask with an exhaust valve is not approved as an acceptable face mask for customers traveling on any Delta operated flight."
The airline requires customers to wear face masks across all touchpoints, including lobby check-in; Delta Sky Clubs; gate areas; jet bridges and onboard the aircraft for the duration of the flight except when eating or drinking. What's more, Delta strongly encourages mask usage in high-traffic areas such as security lines and restrooms.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday has issued new recommendations for cruise travel, and at the top of the list, it’s quite blunt.
The government agency is now recommending that “all people avoid travel on cruise ships, including river cruises, worldwide, because the risk of COVID-19 on cruise ships is very high,” the CDC said in a statement. It now places cruise travel at a "Level 4: Very High Level of COVID-19."
It’s obviously an abrupt turnabout in the last month or so after the CDC let its ‘No-Sail Order’ expire and issued a ‘Conditional Sail Order,’ telling cruise lines they could return to the water if certain criteria were met, including so-called test cruises.
Most cruise lines already responded by saying they would not sail until after January 1, 2021, but the interest from the general public remains high.
In recent weeks, however, the coronavirus pandemic has seen a resurgence worldwide. The U.S. just set a daily high in positive tests for the virus, and the increase has been described as “staggering.”
The CDC’s new warning noted that “It is especially important that people with an increased risk of severe illness avoid travel on cruise ships, including river cruises. Cruise passengers are at increased risk of person-to-person spread of infectious diseases, including COVID-19, and outbreaks of COVID-19 have been reported on cruise ships.”
According to a report by the Reuters News Agency, data from March 1 through Sept. 28 showed a total of 3,689 confirmed cases of COVID-19 or COVID-like illness cases on cruise ships and 41 deaths.
The CDC also said that “passengers who decide to go on a cruise should get tested 3-5 days after your trip AND stay home for 7 days after travel. Even if you test negative, stay home for the full 7 days. If you don't get tested, it's safest to stay home for 14 days after you travel.”
It likely won't be until February until passengers are even allowed back on cruise ships sailing out of US ports though.
LONDON — The second wave of the coronavirus in Europe has started to show signs of slowing, but experts have warned that it’s too early to get complacent.
European countries have been grappling with a second wave of infections since September, but the latest numbers show a stabilization in new cases in Germany, Spain and Italy, and a decline in Belgium, France and the Netherlands.
It comes after new lockdowns and tough social restrictions were reintroduced across numerous European countries in October in an effort to contain the second wave; the latest numbers suggest these steps seem to be working.
“These countries and some other parts of continental Europe may be close to turning the corner again, or may already have done so,” Florian Hense, economist at Berenberg, said Tuesday.
Belgium, for instance, which had been experiencing some of the highest Covid-19 daily infections in Europe, has been reporting lower numbers. Daily infections peaked on Oct. 30 near 24,000, while on Monday there were 4,659 new cases.
“For now, the trend is good,” Simon Dellicour, a bioengineer and research associate at the Universite Libre de Bruxelles, told CNBC on Monday, in reference to Belgium.
The country’s government twice stepped up restrictions last month to deal with the post-summer surge in cases, and people are now working from home and cannot visit the houses of family and friends, for instance.
Dellicour told CNBC that these moves have started to impact the number of cases and the latest round of restrictions should help to further reduce new infections.
However, he said: “It’s too soon to claim victory,” and added that any easing of current restrictions needed to be done carefully to avoid a third wave.
Meanwhile in Germany, which has been locked down to some extent since Nov. 2, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday that the restrictions were causing case numbers to stabilize “somewhat, but too slowly.”
The largest economy in Europe reported 10,824 new cases on Monday, compared with 16,947 the previous day.
In Italy, there were 27,354 new cases on Monday, compared with 40,092 on Friday. The southern European country also stepped up restrictions earlier this month, but they’re not yet as severe as in the first wave when schools and universities were also closed.
However, Hense from Berenberg warned that, “the picture remains mixed with still high or still rising infection rates in other countries.”
This is the case in the Czech Republic, Austria, Luxembourg and Lichtenstein. They have the highest 14-day cumulative number of Covid-19 infections per 100 000 inhabitants in Europe, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.
In Luxembourg and the Czech Republic, for instance, the numbers have not yet shown a clear sign that new infections are coming down, according to data form John Hopkins University. On Monday the countries reported 1,325 and 5,407 new Covid cases respectively, compared to 713 on Friday and 7,355 on Sunday, according to JHU.
However, despite this mixed picture, some are optimistic that Europe’s latest set of restrictions might be eased in a few weeks.
JP Morgan noted that the measures taken across the region in the wake of the second wave had started to bear fruit, meaning that they could potentially be eased in time for Christmas.
“Lockdowns should be eased by early December, which will allow a strong bounce in economic and social activity ahead of the holiday season,” David Mackie, an economist at JPMorgan, said on Thursday.
“Whether or not there is another European lockdown during the early months of next year remains to be seen, and much depends on developments in the vaccine candidates. But, for now, enough has been done to turn infections around.”
The International Air Transport Association is now calling 2020 the worst year in aviation history.
The airline trade group made some big updates to its predictions for the prospects of recovery in the aviation industry.
IATA now says it believes domestic air travel could recover by 2022. “Aggressive cost-cutting is expected to combine with increased demand during 2021 (due to the re-opening of borders with testing and/or the widespread availability of a vaccine) to see the industry turn cash-positive in the fourth quarter of 202, which is earlier than previously forecast,” it added.
Unfortunately, that’s where the good news ends. The group is still anticipating a full recovery to 2019 pre-pandemic air travel won’t happen until at least 2024. It also says the industry will lose more money than first anticipated both this year and next. For the full year 2020, IATA suggests a net loss of more than $118 billion dollars. That is much deeper than the estimates of a loss of $84 billion in June. Next year, it’s expecting a net loss of nearly $39 billion – also much more than originally forecast back in June.
“It’s the worst peacetime year for commercial aviation since the industry started a 100 years ago. Outside of war, we’ve never seen anything where demand evaporated by as much as 90%. 2020 for all of us — restaurant owner to retailer to airline — almost everyone in every industry is looking at 2020 as a year of dread,” Henry Harteveldt, a travel industry analyst and president of Atmosphere Research told TPG. “We’re eager to put this year behind us. 2021 won’t be a flash cut to normalcy, but a lot of us have our fingers crossed that we will begin the process of returning to normalcy.”
IATA’s Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac said in a statement, “This crisis is devastating and unrelenting. Airlines have cut costs by 45.8%, but revenues are down 60.9%. The result is that airlines will lose $66 for every passenger carried this year.”
Tim Jue is a San Francisco-based reporter covering airlines and travel. He said while a 2022 domestic recovery is “good news for airlines with robust domestic networks, it suggests there’s a longer road ahead for the big established global airlines,” he said, “We are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but the real worry is what’s going to happen to the travel industry before we get to that point. Demand will come back, but the near-term impact to some companies and workers impacted by the downturn could be insurmountable.”
And that sentiment was echoed by JohnnyJet founder and editor-in-chief John E. DiScala (aka Johnny Jet) who said, “it’s a little concerning that they are predicting international recovery will take until 2024. Since the vaccine will take some time to roll out it looks like the key will be rapid, accurate testing. I know as soon as the health officials say it’s safe to travel I’m going to be crisscrossing the country to give my loved ones a big hug.”
“We need to get borders safely re-opened without quarantine so that people will fly again. And with airlines expected to bleed cash at least until the fourth quarter of 2021 there is no time to lose,” said IATA’s de Juniac.
Indeed, Harteveldt said the idea of a steep recovery is now unlikely. He said his company’s research with airlines, travel planners and travel managers suggests it will be 3.1 years from the time vaccines become widely available for a return to a full pre-COVID-19 levels of airline travel. “Countries are going to recover on different timelines, based on availability of vaccines, and populations. It’s not going to be a smooth upward curve. It may be steady progress. But it may look more like a series of steps,” he said.
“We believe, based on the research we’ve done with airlines, the leisure market should recover in two to two and a half years. Business travel will take longer to recover because business travel is not monolithic,” said Harteveldt. “There’s essential travel that’s been ongoing, but when I talk with business travel buyers and managers, they tell me their externally focused business travel, such as sales calls or working with customers, will likely be at the forefront of resuming once again the company feels its safe for employees to start traveling.”
He told TPG, group meetings, off-sites and convention travel will resume much later based on safety. Indeed, he said that 7% of managers he spoke to last month said they didn’t expect a return to pre-COVID-19 level travel for the next five years.
The map features a color-coded map and a drop-down menu of more detailed restrictions and state-specific rules.
Aiming to make deciding where to travel a bit easier, as COVID-19 continues to spark restrictions and rules for traveling around the United States, United Airlines created an interactive, color-coded map detailing everything travelers need to know ahead of planning a trip.
The map lists everything from whether or not entry into a state is allowed, potential quarantine measures, testing requirements, and even mask mandates for all 50 states and Washington D.C., the company shared with Travel + Leisure. Travelers can see if restaurants, tourist sites, or hotels are open and if there are any specific restrictions in place.
"We know it's a challenge to keep up with the ever-changing list of travel restrictions, policies and regulations so we are offering a simple, easy tool that helps customers decide where to travel next," Linda Jojo, the executive vice president for technology and chief digital officer, said in a statement.
"By providing the most up-to-date information on the destinations we serve, customers can compare and shop for travel with greater confidence and help them find the destinations that best fit their preferences."
The map's color-coded feature and drop-down menu offer more detailed restrictions and state-specific rules.
Several states have implemented quarantine or testing measures for out-of-state visitors. New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, for example, require travelers from dozens of states to self-isolate for two weeks when entering the tri-state area. Similarly, Hawaii requires visitors to quarantine and has pushed back its plan to welcome tourists again until at least October.
United’s new feature comes as the airline eliminated most change fees on domestic flights and committed to allowing all customers to fly same-day standby for free on both domestic and international flights. Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, and Alaska Airlines then followed suit.
United isn’t alone in trying to inform passengers before hopping on a flight. Google Travel introduced a similar feature, linking to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Travel Health Notices.
In a newly issued travel advisory, the Western states are urging residents to stay
In a request that is starting to be echoed by several state officials throughout the country as we head in the busy holiday travel season, the governors of California, Oregon, and Washington on Friday issued a joint statement urging residents to stay close to home and are advising against nonessential out-of-state travel.
The governors are also asking—not requiring—residents and visitors entering from out-of-state, including international travelers, to self-quarantine for 14 days.
The advisory comes as California has surpassed what Governor Gavin Newsom described as “a sobering threshold”—1 million cumulative COVID-19 cases in the state “with no signs of the virus slowing down.”
The Western state officials have asked that individuals limit their interactions to their immediate household.
“If you do not need to travel, you shouldn’t. This will be hard, especially with Thanksgiving around the corner. But the best way to keep your family safe is to stay close to home,” stated Oregon Governor Kate Brown.
Washington Governor Jay Inslee said that COVID cases have doubled in Washington in the past two weeks.
The governors asked travelers to refer the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) COVID-19 travel advice, which states that “regardless of where you traveled or what you did during your trip,” after your trip you should:
Whatever normal is for a city like Las Vegas, it’s going to take a while to get back there.
So says South Point Casino owner Michael Gaughan.
“I’ve been here since 1952 and this is probably the worst thing that’s ever happened to (Las Vegas),” Gaughan told the Las Vegas Sun regarding the coronavirus pandemic. “I don’t think it can get any worse. Hopefully, by the end of March or April, this will be over.”
But Gaughan admitted Las Vegas might not fully recover until 2022.
“Strip hotels will have their work cut out for them,” Gaughan said. “I do think that by the start of 2022, we should be back to completely normal. I just hope Las Vegas can get back to where it was. Everybody is trying to survive and keep as many working as they can.”
Las Vegas was shut down between mid-March and June 4, when some hotel-casinos began to reopen. Those two-plus months were devastating to the city and, even now, some resorts remain closed. The Encore, a Steve Wynn property, announced it was ceasing midweek operations because of weak customer demand.
Travel to Las Vegas has been going up, but at a snail’s pace.
Gaughan made his comments at a ribbon-cutting event for a new 40,000-square-foot equestrian arena at his resort south of the Strip.
In mid-August, TAP Air Portugal announced plans to return to Chicago, San Francisco and New York JFK by October, meaning the carrier would be serving all seven of its pre-pandemic U.S. gateways.
"There is a lot of uncertainty out there. We don't know anything about an eventual second wave," Carlos Paneiro, TAP's vice president of sales for the Americas region, explained a few days later. "But our plan is to keep growing in the USA as long as demand allows us to do it."
Restrictions imposed by other countries continue to steeply curtail the ability of Americans to travel abroad, while U.S.-imposed restrictions block most incoming traffic from the EU, China and Brazil as well as incoming leisure traffic from Canada and Mexico.
Nevertheless, in August TAP was one of more than 70 airlines, including more than 60 foreign-based carriers, that offered at least some level of international service from the U.S, according to the flight data provider OAG.
Overall, airlines were slated to offer 3.2 million seats in August on international flights from the U.S. That's down more than 77% from last year. But with international travel off-limits in so many cases, and with relatively few people interested in traveling abroad these days in any case, it's reasonable to wonder how, or if, airlines are filling the seats.
"There are essential working communities and groups that are allowed to travel," said OAG analyst John Grant. "Government workers. People in the healthcare sector. Diplomats. And a lot of it is taking as much cargo as you possibly can."
Other major sources of business these days are dual nationals and U.S. resident cardholders headed home to visit family and friends, say airline executives.
"Mainly it's migrant and family traffic that we have been taking," said Paneiro.
At Etihad, which is now serving three of its four pre-pandemic U.S. destinations, some traffic continues to come from re-patriations, vice president for the Americas Vincent Frascogna said.
Meanwhile, Eric Odone, senior vice president of Qatar Airways' western region, said that the carrier is even seeing a modest uptick in business traffic.
Business traffic was very much in mind for Qatar when it decided to resume service to Houston beginning Sept. 2 with three weekly flights, Odone said. He added, though, that the friends-and-relatives market remains Qatar's main source of traffic. The nation of Qatar is closed to tourists, but flyers are connecting through Doha to other parts of the Middle East as well as to East Africa and, increasingly, to Eastern Europe.
As of Sept. 2, Qatar will be flying to eight of the 10 U.S. gateways it served prior to the start of the pandemic.
Overall, many of the large global carriers continue to be the foreign airlines that are doing the most flying to and from the U.S. British Airways, Lufthansa, KLM, Aeromexico, Turkish, Qatar, Air France and Air Canada are all in the top 10 in terms of seats offered this month, according to OAG.
Leading the way, though, is discount Mexican carrier Volaris, which has always focused on the family-and-friends travel market. Volaris' scheduled U.S. seat offering this month was down 33.5% year over year as of Aug. 12.
By comparison, KLM's scheduled U.S. flying was down 43%, Qatar's was down 47%, Aeromexico's was down 68%, Lufthansa's was down 81%, British Airways' was down 82% and Air Canada's was down 94%.
The drastic cutback by Air Canada isn't unusual. Indeed, more than 30 foreign carriers that flew to the U.S. last August aren't flying here this year. And others have made similarly large cuts.
One of those is Singapore Airlines, which currently flies just three times weekly from the U.S. on one route, Los Angeles-Singapore. Prior to the pandemic, Singapore flew eight U.S. routes, most of them daily. But Singapore remains closed to tourists and requires even citizens to quarantine for two weeks upon arrival. Further, the city-state continues to prohibit its national airline from booking U.S. customers for connecting itineraries beyond Singapore.
"Obviously, our priority is to reinstate as much of our network as is possible. That is going to depend on the actions of the Singapore government, as far as opening borders," spokesman James Boyd said.
Still, even with border restrictions dotting the map, carriers like Qatar and TAP continue to optimistically rebuild their international networks. After the Sept. 2 Houston reintroduction, Qatar plans to resume Doha-Philadelphia service on Sept. 15, leaving it with 56 weekly U.S. frequencies, down from 77 pre-pandemic, though some flights are on smaller aircraft.
Qatar's approach, which has included more flying in general than other global carriers throughout the pandemic, has OAG's Grant scratching his head.
"I have been at a loss to see how this has been an effective strategy for them," he said.
But Qatar's Odone asserts that between passenger and cargo traffic, the U.S. flights are moneymakers.
"The flights are reviewed twice a week in terms of whether they are cash positive or cash negative," he said. "From the Americas, we've never had a problem."
TAP, meanwhile, had planned a combined 82 weekly August frequencies to the U.S. and Canada prior to the pandemic. With the addition of New York, San Francisco and Chicago in October, the carrier could bring its actual frequencies as high as 45, Paneiro said. That number includes a new, thrice-weekly Boston-Azores route TAP launched in July to cater to the friends-and-relatives market.
Load factors on the carrier's North American routes right now are in the 50%-to-60% range.
"As long as you cover the variable costs, it is worth putting the aircraft up in the air," Paneiro said. "A load factor of 50% to 60% is not as profitable as it was before, but it's worth putting up with those loads, as opposed to putting planes on the ground."