Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian believes that domestic travel demand is back this summer in the US. During his interview with Nikkei Asia, he also said that Asia is the “last part of our international business that returns”.
According to the Delta CEO, he was surprised how leisure domestic travel picked up faster than business travel. He believed that a huge part of the recent months’ recovery is because of the vaccinations in the US. The CDC now allows fully vaccinated individuals to take off their masks even indoors. Combined with the pent-up demand to travel, Bastian believes that the travel industry will be busy by summer.
Delta’s Recovery By July-September
The Delta CEO was hopeful regarding the potential return of Delta’s profitability between July to September. However, he said that “the international part of our business is going to lag, and I see that taking up to maybe a year”. However, it doesn’t mean that international travel will be zero. He mentioned that Greece has the potential to be an international destination for travelers.
He then mentioned Asia being the last to return. There are different factors why Asia is the last region to return. Bastian mentioned that Asia is the farthest and therefore the most expensive. The airline is only going to cater to Asian routes if they are confident that there is truly demand in the area.
Though Asia has several countries that have handled the pandemic well, Bastian thinks that it is still too early to be negotiating with authorities from different countries.
Though the US has consistently tapered restrictions, international travel is still a long way to go. Both UK and US aviation groups are pressuring both countries to have a US-UK travel corridor. However, it seems that the industry will still have to wait and see. The UK also just listed the US on its amber list while the US still hasn’t reopened its borders to the UK.