As markets and economists brace for the economic slowdown, Delta Air Lines Inc. CEO Ed Bastian says he’s not concerned about a global recession given the demand the transportation industry is experiencing air.
“There is no recession in the airline industry,” Bastian told guests at the Detroit Economic Club meeting on Friday. “If anything, there’s more demand than (we) can possibly handle. What you’re seeing is a big change coming out of COVID.”
The industry is emerging from a busy Labor Day weekend when the Transportation Security Administration screened 8.76 million travelers between Friday, September 2 and Monday, September 5, surpassing pre-pandemic 2019 levels , according to the TSA.
Delta, which uses Detroit Metropolitan Airport as its hub, saw a 59% year-over-year increase in the number of passengers boarding there through July, according to data from the Wayne County Airport Authority. .
“We love Detroit,” Bastian said. “We love that we’re your local airline and we’re going to stay your local airline and make it better and better.”
Bastian expects demand to remain strong for the holiday season, as does Hopper, a fare-tracking company, which says more than half of Americans plan to travel on one or both holidays this year. .
Prices should remain high. Hopper expects ticket prices around the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays to be the highest they have been in the past five years.
Prices have been higher than Delta wants to see, Bastian said.
Hopper expects most travelers to pay $350 per ticket on a domestic Thanksgiving flight, and international flights will cost an average of $795. As of this month, Christmas domestic airfares averaged $463 per ticket and international tickets $1,300 each.
Hopper recommends that consumers planning to travel for the holidays book before the week of October 10 and be flexible with travel dates.
Regarding business travel, Bastian does not expect it to go back to how it was before the pandemic since business is done differently today, but he said it has been restored. around 80%.
Since the start of last year, Delta has hired 20,000 people to keep up with demand, Bastian said, but there are still reliability issues. The company is still hiring flight attendants, pilots and mechanics, and receives “hundreds of thousands of applicants” for some positions.