Business traffic at 5% level: AFJ North America 2020
US business traffic remains at a very depressed level, Cowen managing director industrials, consumer, airlines, airfreight and aircraft leasing Helane Becker believes and will only recover after the visiting friends and relatives (VFR) traffic.
“We are seeing business traffic at 5% right now as there are huge issues associated with allowing people to get back on the road. Some of it is liability related,” she tells delegates at the Airfinance Journal North America 2020 virtual conference.
“We need to get passed this idea that business travel is risky. Business traffic will come back but I don’t think it will be as strong as it has been in the past. You think about how it took business traffic to recover after 2008-09. Short haul traffic never really recovered to 2000 levels after 2001.”
Becker observes that VFR travel will recover first because people have a place to stay when visiting friends and relatives as opposed to stay in a hotel.
“We need to learn to live with Covid-19 and adapt to whatever is the new reality of travel.”
She recalls that passengers have kept adapting with new rules of travelling including scanning at airports.
Becker says US traffic at the moment is about 700,000 passengers a day but is confident it will reach 1 million a day by December.
"We see about 700,000 passengers a day travelling during peak days and about 600,000 passengers on off peak days, which is about 50-60% better that what I thought we will see right now," she says.
"We cannot get above 1 million without international and business traffic coming back," she adds.