• Wed. Oct 5th, 2022

Transcript: The Way Forward: The Airline Industry with Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly

M. KELLY: You know, David, I’ve been in business for 44 years, and I’ve never had a time in my life where it was impossible to predict. So I’ll just start with that. Our activity is still down from 2019 levels, you know, pre-pandemic levels. It’s still down 65%, at least in February. So given that, it’s still hard to predict. However, you know, I’d just like to suggest, pontificate a bit, if you will, that we have two major segments of traffic – business travel and consumers, traveling for various reasons – right now we’re very dependent consumers to fill our planes. Our hope is that by June, when a large portion of the population will have had access to vaccines, you know, we will at least have a chance of breaking even. So, I don’t expect business travel to pick up during this time. If you look at past recessions, it took five years on average for business travel to return to pre-recession levels. That would be my guess this time. And knowing how much habits have changed in this virtual world, it could be much longer than that. So, we are quite ready to see this kind of demand in the future and succeed. So hopefully by the end of this year we will have most of this pandemic behind us.