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Delta’s Chief Predicts Business Travel Surge

However, international recovery will probably be ‘choppy’ and ‘uneven,’ according to CEO Ed Bastian

July 19, 2021

There’s a “surge” coming in corporate travel, according Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian. Speaking on a second-quarter earnings call, Bastian told analysts that almost 95 percent of corporate accounts have indicated they’ll be returning to their offices by the end of year.

Domestic corporate volume grew from 20 percent of pre-pandemic levels in March to 40 percent in June, and is expected to reach 60 percent by September, Bastian said. “I think the surge is coming,” he predicted. “Just like on the leisure side, we are getting ready for it on the business side.”

Although the strength being seen in international travel is encouraging, Bastian said, international demand recovery will be “very choppy and uneven.” However the carrier is seeing strong bookings to Europe when countries open their borders.

While the same will be true for the rest of the world over time, Bastian added, “We are mindful of the risks that new variants pose to the pace of recovery, and our team will stay very disciplined in restoring international capacity.”