CHICAGO (Reuters) – U.S. airlines are taking flights, and in some cases COVID-19 test programs, to travel to Mexico and the Caribbean, a region central to carriers ’strategy to get into vaccine pockets before holiday needs. the world. Coastal resorts in areas like Cancun are the only places where more flights now depart from U.S. cities in November and December than last year, according to data from the airline Cirium. Overall, U.S. airlines are flying about 50% less than in 2019, and flights to traditional European resorts such as Paris have fallen by 82% due to travel bans and quarantines. While revenue streams like the Caribbean will help, they won’t be enough to make airlines black for the year, analysts said. The holiday season traditionally occurs when airlines thrive in slow months in January and February. But this year, they said, they will continue to burn millions of dollars a day through the fourth quarter as they struggle with declining demands.
Before Thanksgiving, U.S. airports saw the busiest weekend since mid-March, even after the Center for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) called on Americans not to travel in the midst of the peak of COVID-19 cases. Nevertheless, demand is falling by about 60% and airlines say it is too early to know how Christmas travel will develop. Still, airlines are hoping to build customers who feel comfortable before the flight before the COVID-19 vaccine becomes widely available, monitoring the typically lucrative summer travel season.
Several studies, including Harvard School of Public Health and the U.S. Department of Defense, have argued that the risk of in-flight transmission of COVID-19 is low when people wear masks. Recent positive vaccination developments have helped reassure investors that U.S. airlines are able to survive the crisis. Sector stocks rose 4% on Monday and rose 23% in the month.
The speed and depth of their recovery, especially due to higher-margin business and international travel, will determine how the heaps of debt they took over against the crisis will be cut. Airlines are trying to restart overseas travel through bilateral bubbles – agreements between countries on COVID-19 test protocols to replace or reduce quarantines – although programs have been slow to get off the ground. United Airlines launched a free fast COVID-19 test program between Newark Liberty International and London Heathrow airports last week and announced Monday that it will launch a test program from the U.S. energy capital, Texas, to 10 locations in Latin America and the Caribbean. From December 7, passengers will be able to take a self-collected postal test 72 hours before departure for $ 119 to meet entry requirements for their destination.
(Report by Tracy Rucinski; edited by Kenneth Maxwell)