As United Airlines executives evaluated the course of the pandemic, they realized they could not predict its timeline and agreed on a cautious path, waiting to ramp back up until demand indicators strengthened and forming a cross-sector "bounceback team" to evaluate rebound scenarios. Now with demand reemerging, United is moving forward with plans to expand its domestic flight schedule. "I have not been surprised since the last weekend in February. We haven't felt the yo-yo of emotions," says Scott Kirby, the airline's CEO.
Southwest Airlines is "aggressively hiring" and is "more than halfway toward" the goal of adding 5,000 employees this year, reports company head Gary Kelly. Airline executives are encouraged, moving into the final quarter of the year, as bookings "look strong" and "holiday travel looks in line with where we were in 2019."
On CNBC's The Exchange, Alaska Airlines CEO Ben Minicucci explained the airline's recovery strategy. "We had a very measured approach, very disciplined approach, and we only brought back about 80 percent of our capacity," Minicucci explained. "That allowed us to match supply and demand, but also allowed us to execute our operation in a very good way." Minicucci was optimistic about continued recovery for the industry, explaining the airline is "starting to see a shift here right now in the last two weeks. We're seeing booking strengthen…we're starting to see this delta variant get in the rear-view mirror, and we're starting to see some positive traction."
US airlines expressed optimism about signs of industry recovery, citing an uptick in bookings. Ben Minicucci, CEO of Alaska Airlines, said "We're all feeling the momentum and look forward to building on our strong foundation for growth," and American Airlines leader Robert Isom noted that "We remain very bullish on the return of demand."
Seven Delta Air Lines employees and a pair of athletes from Team USA joined CEO Ed Bastian and CFO Dan Janki at the closing bell of the New York Stock Exchange on Oct. 19. "It's important to announce we are back," Bastian said.
Air Canada is debuting a sustainability initiative that allows corporate customers to reduce the carbon footprint of business travel by purchasing sustainable fuel or offset credits. Deloitte Canada will be the first participant in the Leave Less Travel Programme.
Southwest Airlines will award 10 Rapid Rewards bonus points for each dollar members contribute to offset carbon emissions and also match member contributions. The initiative is part of Southwest's efforts to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.
The Airlines Reporting Corp. reported that the travel agencies it accredits booked 175% more air tickets in September compared to a year ago, after a 328% year-over-year rise in August. "We're encouraged to see that decline leveling off, and ticket sales and trip numbers improving with the news of international travel to the U.S. becoming easier for vaccinated travelers beginning in November," said ARC executive Steve Solomon.
Six flight schools and six certified flight instructors have been named as regional winners in the 2021 annual Flight Training Experience Awards, and 42 schools and 100 instructors have been chosen as winners of distinguished awards. The national winners will be announced in February at the Migration Flight Training Conference in Lakeland, Fla.
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