Why airline travel recovery appears to be slowing down
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The recent uptick in coronavirus cases in the U.S. has many wondering about the economic impact of the continuing pandemic, especially how it plays out for the travel industry.
For airlines at least, it does not look good. Goldman Sachs now expects the recovery in air travel to take at least an extra year — to 2023 instead of 2022 — to return to 2019 levels, according to the latest update to the firm’s COVID-19 recovery forecast on June 28. Domestic travel is still expected to come back first, though that will be led by leisure travelers and not the high-revenue business flyers many carriers depend on.
But the forecast is not all bad. Southwest Airlines, as well as other domestic-focused carriers, are expected to recover earlier and faster than their peers, according to the forecast. The recovery could take longer for the “Big 3” — American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines — due to their larger reliance on international and corporate travel.
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