Untethered from desks, passengers are flying more often and in different ways. The New York Times reports that U.S. air carriers expect the new habits to endure, despite economic uncertainty.
“Many of the demand trends we saw emerge during the pandemic are becoming more consistent and shaping our commercial focus for 2023 and beyond,” Robert Isom, the chief executive of American Airlines, told reporters and analysts on a call October 20 to discuss the carrier’s quarterly financial results.
The airline is feeling “very bullish about overall demand, even in an uncertain economic environment,” he added. Executives at United Airlines and Delta Air Lines share that optimism.
One big reason is that the ability to work remotely, full or part time, has allowed Americans to travel more and to combine personal and professional trips — a transformation that appears to be enduring, and one that carriers are planning around, executives say.
“There’s been a permanent structural change in leisure demand because of the flexibility that hybrid work allows,” United’s chief executive, Scott Kirby, said October 19 on a call with reporters and analysts. “This is not pent-up demand. It’s the new normal.”
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