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An executive at American Airlines told the Wall Street Journal earlier this month that 47 of the airline’s 50 largest business accounts said they plan to start flying again after over a year of lockdowns and flight advisories.
The report said some investment bankers have been traveling to see clients, and sales representatives have been trying to get a jump on competitors. American Airlines and United have both reported an increase in business demand.
Still, some companies like Microsoft experienced what life could be like without having to spend money on travel. “I think there’s going to be a higher bar for travel in the future,” Eric Bailey, the global director of travel at Microsoft, told the paper.
Leisure travelers have been credited for filling planes in recent months, as plane tickets bounced back to pre-outbreak levels. Business travel is considered very lucrative for airlines and made up about half of airline revenues.
Bloomberg reported that Delta Air Lines believes corporations will resume work travel no later than Labor Day, and, by July 2021, they will hit levels from before the COVID-19 outbreak. An SAP Concur survey found that 96 percent of business travelers expressed a willingness to travel within the year.
“No one is going to be waiting for the government to say now is the right time to travel,” Ed Bastian, the CEO of Delta, said. “Businesses are going to be making those decisions and pushing their people out on the road, and I think there’s going to be a renaissance of business travel in our country.”
TREND FORECAST: We have been forecasting for nearly a year that business class, the airlines’ most profitable sector, would decline even after unrestricted air travel resumed. And now, with increasing demands for vaccine passports, the number of potential flyers will decline.
Moreover, to build their bottom line, businesses will slash travel budgets. With more people working remotely and the rapid COVID War acceleration of the new Zoom world, long-distance meetings will be effectively conducted.