Leisure air travel in the United States is on track to recover much more quickly than originally expected, thanks to the expedited distribution of vaccines, recent Covid-19 relief and economic stimulus legislation and pent-up demand. We now predict leisure travel in the United States will return to 2019 levels by early 2022. But even with the uptick in bookings, the industry still faces tough challenges ahead.
No crisis in modern times has shattered the aviation business model as much as the coronavirus pandemic. That's because no previous crisis has undermined corporate travel — a major profit center of the airline industry — as much as Covid-19.
In 2020, the Global Business Travel Association reported that almost three-quarters of its member companies canceled or suspended domestic business travel, and 93% canceled or suspended international travel. Corporate bookings plummeted 85% last year and remain around the same level in 2021.