Confirming early warnings by United and Delta of re-declining ticket sales. V-Recovery has to wait in line. Airline shares down 3.7% intraday.
By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET.
TSA checkpoint screenings, which track how many people enter into the security zones at US airports on a daily basis, were down -72.6% yesterday (Sunday) compared to Sunday in the same week last year, according to TSA data released this morning. This was a notch worse than Sunday last week (-71.7%). And this reversal has been playing out since early July.
The seven-day moving average, which irons out the day-to-day volatility particularly around the Independence Day weekend, has edged down to -74.5%, right back where it was on July 2. The peak, so to speak – the smallest decline from the same period last year – was on July 8:
The miserably slow recovery for airlines in terms of ticket sales, from near-zero in late March and early April to some level above near-zero started backtracking in late June. United Airlines and Delta Airlines both issued early warnings about this industry-wide phenomenon that was not supposed to happen in this recovery, but is now happening.
Ticket sales today result in passenger traffic some days, weeks, or months later when these customers are actually walking into an airport to get on the plane. And those declining ticket sales that United had warned about with charts, using industry-wide data for all airlines and sales channels, is now translating gradually into declining passenger traffic into the security zones of US airports.
Sure, this is summer travel season, when traffic is always up seasonally compared to lower-traffic seasons. This year too, there has been a seasonal uptick. But these are year-over-year comparisons that eliminate the seasonality of air travel.
Both United and Delta cited the renewed outbreaks of Covid-19 as the primary cause for this reversal in the recovery – people not wanting to be in an airport with all the exposure this produces and not wanting to sit on a plane near people who might potentially be contagious. This is in addition to travel restrictions globally.
Airlines, which are in an existential crisis given this collapse in revenues – Delta’s passenger revenues collapsed 94% in Q2 – have been promoting the theme that they’re working hard to make flying as safe as possible. That may be true, except that, after having slashed capacity to match the collapsed demand, they’re packing people like sardines into the few planes that are flying, which is not reassuring to everyone on these flights or to people contemplating to fly.
At around noon today, the WOLF STREET airline index of the seven largest US airlines – Alaska, American, Delta, JetBlue, Southwest, Spirit, and United – is down 3.7% from Friday’s close and down 50% from the end of the Good Times in mid-January 2020, and down 60% from January 2018 (market cap data via YCharts):
Airlines are in shrinkage-and-survival mode instead of V-shaped recovery mode. “It will be more than two years before we see a sustainable recovery”: Delta CEO. Read… Delta’s Passenger Revenue -94%. How it Plans to Stay Alive till “Demand Returns.” Confirms United’s Warning About Newly Waning Demand
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Can also be confirmed through AirBnb data. Supposedly booking is up …. for rural areas, so people are not flying, they are taking trips nearby using personal transport.
Airlines are finished for a while.
I am just hoping that if this country descends into madness between now and the election, there would be some international flights out of SFO.
Why play MadMax here? Other countries not accepting Americans? Let’s just say I’ve prepared for this years ago ;)
Okay Snake (as in Pliskin), what’s your plan?
Hey, I thought was dead?
I thought I was dead too…turned out I was just in Cleveland.
lol, “I thought you’d be taller.”
surely the 6-8 flights daily(Not reported) in merica were covid-19 positive passengers are not the problem
So you were wise enough to acquire a second passport Very smart grasshopper
Probably just a backpack and some good fishing waders.
I can get out merica easy without passport
it’s getting back in that is problem
As well as my US passport, I have a Canadian passport that’s looking mighty good right now.
Do you actually believe Canada will be any safer after the collapse? Maybe up in the far north but could you survive there?
Update Silver 20.25 USD
The thing the second passport/bug-out crowd seem to ignore, despite the substantial evidence for it both now and historically, is that no one just turning up when the SHTF will be accepted. One needs to either be in with the locals (which typically means living there at least part-time for at least 2 years, and trying to fit in), or have needed skills and be close culturally. And needed skills must be things the locals don’t have enough of themselves and will be needed after SHTF, not now. In my experience, whilst ambling round assorted rural areas in several countries looking for building lots, I found the locals were very inquisitive, not to say inquisitorial, about who was thinking of moving in. Without exception, they relaxed immediately when I said ex-military, so I started getting that one in early.
A 2nd passport is great until you realize Americans have to pay tax no matter where they live.
Yes, there’s a large exemption but that doesn’t hold up well if you’re still working.
In addition to the problems with air travel there is little purpose for domestic air travel. Most in-person conventions are canceled, most in-person sales calls are no longer desired, large weddings and celebrations no longer exist and many of the best vacation destinations are no longer practical either because they are covid-19 soaked wastelands (Florida) or have long serious quarantines (Hawaii).
as FL native born in the middle of the ‘cane of 44, I can only agree, totally with the sentiments you express Sc,,, and, not only that,,, I cannot with my best prognastications(no matter how spelled)/guesses imagine why anyone would want to move to FL at anytime except jan-mar
but, in fact, they do,,, last B.C. stat I saw said ”net” incoming was 500 PER DAY,,, total insanity, and, no doubt, one of the major factors in virus #s in FL, though neighbor just told me that his friend had test, positive, then two more positive and each was counted as a new case
so, B.C. tpa bay becoming one of the very desirable ”techie” destinations and tons of help ads in the actual newspaper every sun, etc.
what will happen here ”A.C.” may be even more crazy, as there are tons of RE here priced apprx 40% of CA, still,,, (not speaking of the new rays new QBs new digs or anything of that sort, to be sure )
Hawaii is now letting people in with documentation of a recent Covid test.
Do the airlines require this too?
Is NEGATIVE test (unless repeated a couple times) is meaningless, if one reads the stats on these tests, world wide!
No, Hawaii is not doing so yet. The date for allowing people in with a prior negative test, so the 14-day quarantine can be avoided, has been pushed out to September 1, and even that date is still questionable.
This will soon not be a pandemic story.
Business travel sucks. I haven’t ever met a Road Warrior who told me they like doing it. Now the business world has discovered, much of it is not necessary.
Leisure travel? Well, heading straight into a Depression, that’s not coming back in a big way, either, after the pandemic is ended.
I spent a few years flying 150K-200K miles a year. I liked it. I was young, single, unattached. Client site M-Th all expenses paid. No money spent on commuting costs. No food costs. No household costs. No money spent on anything really. I had a small apartment as my home base but I was never there. I had beer in my fridge anything else would spoil. Other than rent, I had like no expenses. I saved an insane amount of money living like that.
And this is where it got even better….flying home for the weekend could be substituted with flying anywhere else as long the cost was comparable. If the cost to fly home for the weekend and back to the client site was $700 let’s say and a flight to Bermuda was $900, I’d cover the difference and go spend the weekend in Bermuda. And since I had a gazillion frequent flier miles, I could make up that $200 anyway and probably get a first/business seat upgrade. Or if I could find a crazy cheap flight to Las Vegas$250 let’s say, I could use the remaining portion of $700 ($450 in my example) for a hotel for the weekend. I basically had that $700 to do with whatever I wanted for the weekend, fly home, stay in the client city or fly somewhere else. That $700 could be $2000 if it was international. Then it wouldn’t be weekly, more like 2-3 weeks. So I’d be in Paris and instead of flying home for a week, I’d go spend a week in Stockholm or Tel Aviv or Reykjavik (that was really fun) . It didn’t matter where I was physically since I would be working remotely regardless. I saw the world with someone else paying for it. Double bonus was at clients that had a fixed per diem for meals. One client had $70/day. I’d cheap out and eat maybe $25-30 a day and pocket the rest, as tax free income.
And with those gazillion miles I also flew people in. Friends, family. I booked my parents first class tickets to Europe as an anniversary present.
Now that I’m older and wise (well older anyway), no way I could pull off that lifestyle. But for that time and place, some of the best years of my life. I lived the George Clooney lifestyle in the movie, LOL. Well without the cheezy love story part. It was a great way to live. But not forever obviously. And it’s also not for everybody. One of the things you have to do is learn you can’t control the planes. If it’s late, so be it. If it’s cancelled. So be it. There’s always another flight. It was always a fun sport watching people scream at gate agents or flight attendants about a delayed flight. Like the gate agent had a magic wand that would make the flight on time again if he just screamed really really loud.
Man those were fun times…..I hope that isn’t taken away from the next generation.
It’s this sort of insanity that put us in the climate crisis we are today.
and several other crises, no doubt. but if JSRG had refused to do that job, i am certain a dozen others would have gladly taken his place. and most of them would have insisted on making it home to see the kids, no matter the climatic implications.
You know, the air was much cleaner in the middle ages. Too bad we can’t go back to those days, huh?
Speaking of which, aren’t you contributing to the climate crisis by burning up electronics to tap out your little note and surfing on the internet. Seriously, get yourself off the net if you really want to help with the climate crisis.
Just Some Random Guy –
Awesome story. I’ve done a good bit of traveling myself, and plenty of hotel living. Most of my international travel was as a tourist, though I had a 4 month study abroad in Germany back in 2000 and a 2-week USC MBA trip to Shanghai back in 2009. I’ve been many places though, with 2 international trips a year going back a ways.
My travel jobs were 100% domestic though … US Navy, then FEMA work during Katrina, and later a contract with a St Louis company to work on a refinery in Whiting, Indiana.
I never really settled … been working in LA lately but rent was so expensive I had a deal worked out to stay in cheap motels during the week and spend the weekends with friends or parents. I came back from a vacation in Portugal on Mar 13, then got set up to telecommute as everything was shutting down.
There’s a lot to see in this world, and I really hope travel can open up again next year. I have to admit though, I am nervous about the damage I’ll see when tourism is back up and running. Even if the pandemic ends soon, we’re still looking at a depression deeper than the Global Financial Crisis and the European Debt Crisis combined. I just hope most countries find a way to keep their people fed and housed even while there’s no work to justify giving people these basics.
Travel is amazing. Doesn’t matter where you go, there is always something interesting to see. From the next town over to the other side of the world. Ironically enough Portugal is one of the few countries in Europe I have not been to. I’d like to go sometime and watch surfer. Portugal has had world record waves surfed. I’ve seen some videos of 90M waves and I want to see that in person. Looks surreal.
Yes, Random Guy, I understand. Not so fulfilling a home life, so making lemonade and keeping a positive attitude, as they say.
> This will soon not be a pandemic story. Business travel sucks.
EXACTLY!!! The BEST change I’ve made in my life has been towards remote working which allowed me to not only run away from NIMBY areas but notably, I was also able to shift my healthcare cost burden to those same NIMBYs thanks to ACA. My cost structure is so much more competitive now! We cannot compete with workers worldwide if we waste a ton of resources on housing and healthcare.
It is hugely beneficial to me that Americans who were not that tech-savvy finally learned how to use Zoom and learned that one can be more focused while working at home than in open floor offices. Working from home rules, moving around, commuting, open floor offices, airports… are a massive waste of time and resources IMHO. Extremely polluting as well.
I agree re: remote work, but what is the connection to health care?
> I agree re: remote work, but what is the connection to health care?
Move to a LCOL where you can save the bulk of your income, ACA takes into account your income after those savings if you are self-employed.
Hence you get to pass your healthcare costs to the NIMBYs who were inflating your housing costs thanks to the combination of being in a LCOL that is also NIMBY-free. They call it revenge, I call it reciprocity.
Remote workers need to be competitive worldwide, we cannot deal with NIMBY-related cost inflated structures.
Open-plan offices blow. They’re horrible for noise, visual distractions and spreading germs. The only thing they were ever good for is penny-pinching management cramming more people into less space at the expense of employees’ quality of work life.
EXACTLY! Control freak micromanagers love them. But I don’t want those guys as my boss.
I prefer and do better with interruption-free work life.
Always hated open plan. Noisy and full of common colds!
I’m more productive in an office where I can intermingle with people who want to get work done. Just saying that work at home is not a plus for everyone.
Private jet, limo, 5 star hotel. Living on the road can be better than living at home.
That’s just you’re opinion of course Priorities Harold
Hard to keep pets and grow a garden, though.
I used to be that guy san private jet but always business class travel and 5 star hotels..
Hated it.. it does take a toll doing it for long time
Have you all seen Kamala’s proposal? $2K per person, per month plus $2K per dependent. So a family of 4 would get $8K/month. Retroactive to March 2020.
That’s a lot of money to spend on flights, homes, cars, you name it.
Probably not quite as much as is spent on/by the MIC/Security Stasi State. The Big Playas ALWAYS seem to get Their Socialism, no?
As for Kamala, well .. I’d trust her to make good on her promise ….. like I would a cobra not to bite!
I would’nt buy into the pander, from her, or ANY politician for that matter!
No that’s insane Talk about bankrupting the country And totally destroying the dollar Got GOLD? I do for reasons like this insanity
Anyone notice Silver today Breaking out above twenty dollars Fireworks dead ahead in precious metals No wonder why
Deficits don’t matter.
– Dick Cheney
If you listen to “ Dick” Cheney then I pity you
I haven’t heard a peep about deficits in the past 3.5 years.
But, I think it will be talked about a bunch come this January.
Deficits truly don’t matter.
The folks that get all wound up about this think it all has to be paid back in 35 years…..you know like their personal household.
The US Government is an immortal being. All debts it incurs can be paid back over 4 to 5 centuries…or longer.
Deficits/Debt is not a problem.
@OTB – I believe that is how John Law explained deficits to the King.
Corporate welfare masquerading as “ Defense “ expenditures and criminally low taxes on the big corporations and ruling class bankrupted the country.
Not doing it is even more insane. The US needs to create a way to push up demand and get all the loans paid. This would be a start because more money means more demand that creates jobs so unemployment goes away. This would push up debt but debt is not important but the debt-to-GDP ratio and with mass unemployment GDP will collapse.
Do you suppose she’ll get her old job back and resume prosecuteing those of a certain color for truency if their kids don’t show up for school…while giving corporate big shots get out of jail free cards?
it would probably depend on the demand for prison labor. and, no, the big shots will still get off scot-free regardless of demand.
Might be inflationary…
It’s easy when it’s not your own money.
But then again that thing is dead on arrival. Zero chance of being passed.
$2Trillion per month for the 1% is a far better solution. Let them determine how to distribute the wealth since they got wealthy from the system. Duh!
I think that $8000 per month for every family would be about the only thing that will keep the residential real estate market from a well deserved epic crash that makes 2008 look like a scene from Breakfast at Tiffanies. But the question ( besides inflation) is .would any mortgage underwriter consider such a Keynesian windfall to be long lasting enough to use to calculate mortgage repayment income?
We’re loadin’ up our boards in our woody now and headin’ out singin’ our song……Shark!!!
If they are going to keep printing, I do think it’s the citizens turn 26 tril later.
Seriously, the Gov has no choice. Just as in this article, the economy is not coming back. It’s going to be a long cold sad winter for a lot of people. The depression is starting with the lower income folks (of course) and rising to middle class and beyond fast. We really are down to helicopter money now.
Its surprising that when the need for screen passengers has diminished so much there are no stories detailing the reduction, if any, of the large force of TSA personnel.
TSA has been deployed to Portland. They are the guys in camo carrying machine guns with no unit designation kidnapping people into minivans.
Jade Helm is under way.
Yet somehow not a peep from the 2A cosplay commandos who justified their assault weapons as saving us all from government tyranny. They’re more likely to be cheering on state violence.
And now they are off to Pennsylvania. I wonder how the folks there will welcome the TSA patrolling their state?
That index chart looks more like a fish-hook than a V. The airlines apparently didn’t get the memo…
Only 25% of traffic is back. I know, I travel all the time and ask pilots…
My brother told me the value of Vermont real estate is going up. He thought it is due to the lower incidence of coronavirus there. They are planning to reopen schools. They might go to half class size on an every other day schedule. He said fourth grade and older may transmit the virus.
In another report, a student doing remote learning could not keep up. His mother said he needs teacher supervision. She is not a teacher.
In yet another report a student doing remote learning found that he/she could sail through assignments and started learning far ahead of requirements. His mom and dad weren’t teachers either.
“Its surprising that when the need for screen passengers has diminished so much there are no stories detailing the reduction, if any, of the large force of TSA personnel.”
no issues. a new outfit and reassigned to riot duty.
i wonder if they will have more success finding their own weapons than they did finding the ones in people’s baggage?
I suspect that the present configuration of airlines will look vastly different in the near future. Obviously air travel will not disappear, but a lot of current carriers might.
That being said, I truly dislike flying. A necessary evil.
Cornovis? What Cornovis?
In an interview on Fox News that aired Sunday, Mr. Trump said many recent cases involve young people. “They have the sniffles and we put it down as a test,” he said.
“We are the envy of the world when it comes to testing.”
Wouldn’t you like like to fly on our our V shaped recovery?
Way up in the skies on our V shaped recovery.
Don’t recall the rest…
Ahh, one of the COVID deniers. I wish there was an ignore function here.
Same here, wish there’s an ignore button but then others might accuse you of being 1984 for censoring freedom of speech even though ignore function doesn’t exactly work that way, it just allow me to not even have to read through certain people’s BS but the post is still there for others to read it if they so choose to.
Imagine if the guy was in government,or worse, was himself a co-equal branch of government. Now that would be scary.
In the list of annoying things about flying, masks would be about 10th. Honestly, I don’t know how anyone over 6ft or 250 lbs can fly, unless they can afford first class.
My little girl can read.
How many of you out there still think the market will crash? wolf you included?
If you think what’s happening now is absurd just wait! It will get even more absurd. Hold dollars at your peril.
I hate the market and PMs but what else is there? Real estate is tricky and only for high rollers with ample reserves.
My suggestion is to not own dollars and above all else don’t short this market! (Wolf)
Remember, the German stock market did very well from 1920 to 1924.
… hear that? That’s the planet breathing a sigh of relief. You don’t have to be a climate change advocate to know that pumping insane amounts of fossil fuels into the atmosphere is bad. This hurtling to exotic destinations on cheap air travel every few months and posting glamor shots on Facebook eating exotic entrees whose names you can’t even pronounce while living paycheck to paycheck isn’t my idea of maintaining healthy self-esteem or a healthy, sustainable, livable planet.
As I’ve been saying, it’s not all been bad with this Covid stuff. In fact one day it will be viewed as one of the planet’s self healing mechanism.
When will humans understand that when it comes to confrontation with nature, it will always be Human 0 – Nature XXX
love it far shore MB,,, what I have been trying, without success to get some of the younger folks to understand and get ready for…
specious reasoning makes it all seem to be convertible to OK, either readily or eventually,,, and maybe so, maybe no is the only truth
surely, with the tech advantages already established and working,,, IF IF IF we as a species, never mind the divisions foisted on us as being in our best interests by oh so many, can actually get our stuff together, we just might be able to continue
otherwise, in answer to question earlier on this or another thread on Wolf’s wonder site,,, the purpose of the various and sundry ”lock downs, etc” is certainly to start separating those that can stay in a very small cubicle for a long time from those clausterphobics who would not continue even to the moon, much less another planet…
Remember, the darwinian theory has now move from ”fittest” to ”most adaptable”
I am still very enthused by the latest developments from the young theoretical physicists who are currently extending and expanding Einsteins (admittedly preliminary) General Theory, from which new work, eventually not only free energy, but devices that, as you use them more, so you will gain more free energy, leading to long lasting world peace, etc., etc…
Free energy. Righhhht.
Me? I’m holding out for the pill advertised in 1970s Popular Mechanics that turns water into gasoline, or maybe for one of those perpetual motion machines.
Long before we achieve free energy we will have free lunch. I’m really looking forward to that.
Well, not if everything goes back to normal V shape style like some would like to believe. Doubt the planet can heal in couple of months on decades of damage since the industrial age. Even if there’s a dreaded L shape recovery, our action is simply too slow to reverse or stop the collision course we’re on. Maybe this planet needs to be like Krypton and hurl itself towards the sun and hit reset.
You mean a planet where we all live as the Amish do?
I’ll pass on that.
He he he…you don’t have to think outside the box for this one. Just good old-fashioned *thinking* alone will do.
a lot of other people will “pass on” too. others, like the Amish, will abide to some degree.
It’s terrible to read that airline travel is impacted.
However, i think we can get everybody onboard for another stimulus bazooka very very soon, let’s say $2 trillion, and that should push the S&P 500 to 4000 by Santa time 2021.
Meanwhile the USA will REMAIN with the cleanest dirty shirt in the world with a Debt to GDP below Japan and in a lot better shape than the EU.
T-bills are coveted by the world’s trillionaire class elites. Nobody can change that fact. Dollars stays strong for a long time.
One snip on recent history, and two on 2020 GDP Debt Forecast
Canada’s 2017 debt-to-GDP ratio was 89.7%, compared to the United States at 107.8%. In 2016, Canada ranked 24th and the US 30th out of 35 OECD countries in terms of tax revenue to GDP ratio.
Government Debt to GDP in the United States is expected to reach 110.00 percent by the end of 2020, according to Trading Economics global macro models and analysts expectations.
Government Debt to GDP in Canada is expected to reach 97.00 percent by the end of 2020, according to Trading Economics global macro models and analysts expectations.
There actually are other countries for comparison. Plus, one should also consider available medical coverage, public safety, political representation, and how justice is administered across the board.
EU was expecting Brexit so all those states have plans ready to spend Kensian money purposely. The US does not have those plans so saying US is cleanest shirt is IMHO wrong
In a previous article, Wolf mentioned that Alibaba is “not a proper stock that conveys a slice of equity; it’s an ADR”, and “Holders of BABA have no ownership of Alibaba, the Chinese company”.
Is that the case for all ADRs, that you don’t own the company when you buy an ADR, or is Alibaba special in that sense?
When I look at Volkwagen as a different example (https://www.marketwatch.com/investing/stock/vwagy), it’s listed as a 1/10th ADR, and it looks like 10% of the shares outstanding trade in the US under VWAGY. So if I buy VWAGY, do I have ownership of Volkwagen, the German company, or no?
All ADRs are based on the same principle. The reason I mentioned Alibaba is because the value of the ADR ($660 billion) would place it in the range of the Giant 5. The Volkswagen ADR is just a small fraction of that value ($85 billion).
That’s another confusing thing. Isn’t the value of the ADR much lower than the overall market cap of the company which includes shares traded in the native country’s stock market exchange? So for Volkswagen, the amount traded here looks like is only $8 billion or 10% of the overall market cap.
In the case of Alibaba, I cannot make sense of it. Out of the $660 billion total market cap, what fraction of that is traded in Hong Kong and what fraction trades in the US?
Yeah, if you want true ownership of a company, don’t buy ADRs.
And what fraction is not traded on the stock market at all. Ma shares are not traded in HK or Wallstreett
The Alibaba “stocks” that trade in Hong Kong (9988.HK) are not issued by the hi-tech colossus in China but by the same Cayman Islands-registered entity as the ADR’s that trade on the NYSE. In short shareholders buy shares in a PO Box somewhere in George Town.
According to the HKEX website, BABA and 9988.HK combined presently has a market capitalization of over $770 billion. Yes, those are US dollars: I re-run the currency conversion five times because the numbers seemed too large to me but mathematics isn’t an opinion.
This means the market cap of 9988.HK alone is “just” $110 billion, again in US dollars.
WTSHTF, I have an underground tomb in Ustengrav where I can store all my food, weapons and armour, potion ingredients and various miscellaneous items like mammoth tusks. Oh wait, that’s my other life in Eldar Scrolls. Lockdown is getting to me…
So, WTF are Boeing and Airbus going to do?
On top of the evaporating market, bet the used passenger plane market is looking pretty attractive for air cargo and such. Maybe they’re hoping for a war… or maybe they can fly datacenter hard drives around?
Maybe Comac will buy them. Or bail them out for an interest. Strictly business, of corse.
Get bailed out by their respective governments. Both will have defense contracts. Airbus will probably find a way to merge with various European defense consortiums, may be take over Dassault.
Retro-fit and marketed them as cool, edgy mobile homes?? I mean, it’s not like they don’t have the rental ‘park’ space handy and ready to go …
See. Everyone WINS!
It would still be cheaper than SF real estate.
I don’t see how the airlines can operate as companies anymore. They’ll have to be state or federal entities like busses and trains.
I’ve been trying to book a flight to Budapest for weeks. Prices are all over the place.
That’s because you can’t get to Budapest in a straight line!
International mail is a mess due to missing passenger flights as most national postal services utilize passenger flights for international delivery.