June 25, 2024

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On June 28, 2022, at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia, the United States, passengers checked in at the Delta Air Lines check-in area before departure.

Elijah Novelage | Elijah Novelage Reuters

While the aviation industry has been in the spotlight recently over a series of safety issues, airline executives say there are no signs of slowing demand for flights.

United Airlines Andrew Nocera, the airline’s chief commercial officer, said on Wednesday’s earnings call that “as an airline and as an industry,” we will see record passenger numbers this summer.

“Demand continues to be strong and we saw a record spring and summer travel season, with all 11 of our highest sales days in history occurring this year,” Delta CEO Ed Bastian said on a company conference call a week ago. American airlines and Southwest Airlines Results will be reported on April 25.

Air travel demand has remained resilient even as persistent inflation puts pressure on household budgets and a series of high-profile safety issues have sparked congressional hearings and become the butt of jokes on late-night TV and TikTok.

Public and regulatory scrutiny of industry intensifies after door jam explosion boeing company January 737 Max 9. That sparked a new safety crisis at Boeing and slowed deliveries of new planes to airlines.

United itself is under a safety review from the Federal Aviation Administration after several incidents this year, including a tire falling off an old Boeing 777 aircraft.

Airlines, which earn most of their revenue in the spring and summer, have also been grappling with rising fuel and labor costs, and the new contracts provide pilots and other workers with significant pay raises after years of stagnant wages.

Still, demand for international travel and a rebound in corporate travel have helped drive growth for airlines around the world. Both Delta Air Lines and United Airlines’ second-quarter forecasts topped Wall Street expectations. Customers appear willing to pay more for first-class and other fares than standard economy, executives said.

Nocera said during an earnings call Wednesday that the airline may further segment the front of the plane, as United and other airlines have done with economy class. “Obviously, in the future, there are a lot of teams of people working on how to further innovate and provide more and more options and monetize those options on our behalf,” he said.

Meanwhile, Delta Air Lines said premium coach revenue growth has been outpacing standard coach sales for several years.

Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and American Upgrades to first and business class and more and larger lounges have been announced to accommodate the growing number of travelers willing to pay higher-priced tickets or elite status or high-fee rewards credit cards.

Delta Air Lines plans to open a new, more exclusive airport lounge later this year.

The domestic-focused and low-cost airline plans to report results in the coming weeks. Some of these airlines have struggled in recent months due to increased capacity, limited aircraft supplies and rising costs.

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