Southwest and Delta Douse Hopes for Recovery in Q4. TSA Checkpoint Screenings Already Agree

The curious effect of the election and now possibly the surge in virus infections.

By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET.

This morning, Southwest Airlines reported operational data for October and updated projections for the rest of the fourth quarter. It looks like the already miserably tepid recovery of the airline passenger business has stalled. Shares [LUV] are down 3.1% at the moment.

  • In October, operating revenue fell about 65% from a year ago. And Southwest cut capacity, measured in available seat miles (ASM), by 44%.
  • For November and December, it expects operating revenues to be down 60% to 65%. Given the shift in holidays, it expects to cut capacity by 35% in November and by 40% to 45% in December.

This 65% drop in revenues, and the more somber outlook, roughly matches the curious backsliding in passenger traffic that the TSA has been reporting recently. The numbers of passengers entering secured areas at US airports, as measured by daily TSA checkpoint screenings, compared to the same weekday in the same week last year is now down about 66% from a year ago (7-day moving average), from the -62% range at the end of October. Note the backsliding in early November and the absence of a bounce-back since then.

The recent drop in the chart above began at the end of October, just before the election. As expected, on Election Day, given the big voter turnout, passenger traffic fell further. Checkpoint screenings were down 71.3% compared to the same weekday in the same week last year. But as not expected, traffic hasn’t recovered, and over the past few days, has edged down further, with checkpoint screenings Monday through Wednesday this week respectively -66.1%, -72.3%, and -67.4%.

In terms of the number of passengers, it is clear what is not happening: normal seasonal increases and decreases. These seasonal variations in passenger traffic have largely been upended this year. Traffic has been more stable, but at much lower levels. The chart below shows the number of people who passed through TSA checkpoints per day through November 11 (seven-day moving average; 2020 = red line; 2019 = black line):

Southwest said:

“The Company has experienced a deceleration in improving revenue trends for November and December 2020 in recent weeks.

“While the Company expected the election to impact trends, it is unclear whether the softness in booking trends is also a direct result of the recent rise in COVID-19 cases.

“As such, the Company remains cautious in this uncertain revenue environment.”

Business travel is still largely absent. And passenger demand and booking trends remain “primarily leisure-oriented,” Southwest said, and this demand is “inconsistent by region.”

Southwest “continues to plan for multiple scenarios for its fleet and capacity plans,” it said. And yes, it will be selling middle seats again starting on December 1.

Southwest’s daily cash burn – the newfangled airline metric born out of the Pandemic – was about $10 million per day in October, an improvement of its prior estimate of about $12 million. And it estimates that daily cash burn in the fourth quarter will be about $10-$11 million.

Southwest isn’t going to run out of cash for a while. It has already raised about $19 billion so far this year through debt issuance and sale-leaseback of some of its planes ($13.4 billion); a common stock offering ($2.2 billion); and the government bailout Payroll Support Program ($3.4 billion). As of November 10, it still had $13.6 billion in cash and short-term investments.

And Southwest can borrow more, it said. It has about $10 billion in planes and $2 billion in other assets – such as spare engines, ground equipment, and real estate – that have not yet been pledged as collateral. And it can still pledge its loyalty program, Rapid Rewards, as collateral, a method by which airlines raised many billions of dollars, including Delta which raised $9 billion by pledging its SkyMiles program as collateral.

Delta on a similar track.

Two days ago, at an investor conference, Delta Air Lines said it expects its total revenues in the fourth quarter to fall by 65% to 70% from a year ago. Delta has been hit harder than Southwest due to it its international routes, where traffic is down much more than domestically.

And it expects to cut capacity by 40% to 45% from a year ago. Unlike Southwest, Delta is continuing to block the middle seat “through at least January 6, 2021,” it said in a press release on November 9, to encourage people to fly.

Delta estimated that daily cash burn will be in the $10-$12 million range in the fourth quarter. And it expected to have about $16 billion in cash left at the end of the quarter.

The fact that all air lines now routinely update investors about how much their revenues are down compared to last year (such as -65%), how much cash they burn daily (such as $10 million), how much cash they raised to have more to burn (many billions), and how much cash they still have on hand to burn (many billions, but less than they raised) shows their efforts to soothe the nerves of frazzled investors.

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  97 comments for “Southwest and Delta Douse Hopes for Recovery in Q4. TSA Checkpoint Screenings Already Agree

  1. Martha Careful says:

    All those empty jets will soon be filled with dry ice shipments, headed to hospitals that are running low on ways to keep their massive supplies of vaccines cold (snark?). No worries …

    • sunny129 says:

      The Super Cold Covid Vaccine Distribution Problem

      Various concerns and Logistics are conveniently ignored but they won’y go away

      • Fake news says:

        This is just news to scare you. The pharma industry deals with this on a daily basis look up the words “cold chain.” Hundreds of thousands of people deal with this. I can think of three professional journals that deal with this subject.

    • Winston says:

      Everything You Don’t Want to Know About COVID Vaccines
      11 Nov 2020


      But these are the first mRNA vaccines ever seeking approval for human use, and so there are no long-term studies of what might go wrong down the road.

      One concern is the possibility that mRNA vaccines could trigger a generalized immune response (interferon, etc.) rather than just a specific immune response to a specific virus (antibodies, etc.).

      Our immune system is extremely complex and I make no claim to have a complete understanding of it. That said, the immune system has several levels of response. A conventional vaccine triggers the production of a specific antibody that “recognizes” a specific invader. In other cases, the immune system can activate an “all hands on deck” generalized response.

      The danger is that the mRNA could trigger an “all hands on deck” response that could then cascade into autoimmune disorders in which the immune system goes haywire and starts attacking the body’s own cells rather than limiting its destructive capabilities to foreign viruses, bacteria, etc.

      One of my MD correspondents recently sent me an email which encapsulates these concerns:

      “I’ve been reading about the Pfizer vaccine.

      I’ve known for a while that it is an mRNA vaccine but it just hit me that it will be the first mRNA vaccine ever approved for human use.

      If COVID was a ‘Steven King’ (kills-everyone) virus, sure, go for it–prevent the deaths and take what comes.

      But mortality is low, acute treatments are improving, transmission is preventable, and the greatest risk now appears to be longer term morbidity.

      mRNA vaccines by the very nature of their components elicit an interferon response that triggers generalized autoimmunity. This may, in fact, be part of the mechanism of longer term morbidity associated with COVID infection.

      Mass introduction of mRNA strands into the populations may indeed reduce acute COVID morbidity and mortality, but how many autoimmune complications will result?

      No one knows.

      It’s never been done before–ever.

      It would take years of carefully controlled and limited trials across all ethnic groups to find out.


      • MonkeyBusiness says:

        And people tell me I am being stupid for preferring the Chinese vaccines.

        Just to be clear, I am not taking any vaccine until a lot of people have taken one type, but if tomorrow someone puts a gun on my head, I will the Chinese ones EVERY SINGLE TIME.

      • Fat Chewer. says:

        I agree with this comment 100%. If you would take a scientist’s advice to wear a mask, then for the same reason, you should take Winston’s advice to be cautious. A friend of mine is a renowned nuero-anatomist and he came to the same conclusion as Winsto in April.

  2. TimTim says:

    Great article.

    V shaped recovery anyone…?

    • Sporkfed says:

      V for vaccine ?

    • sunny129 says:

      More likely ‘K’ shaped with some winners and more & more losers, as the months go by!

      • Thomas Roberts says:

        I am more worried about after the pandemic is over. Right now, employers have just sent many employees home to work. Once, the free money train ends for the 90%, labor will once again be on the losing side, that’s when the middle class layoffs begins and automaton speeds up.

        Automation is a very positive thing, but, the general population has to over a long period of time, lower the hours worked in a year to roughly match it. Overtime would have to apply to salary workers and like in some countries, if you have to work overtime, the employer has to give you time off to match that, at a different part of the year.

        • Fat Chewer. says:

          That would send me broke. It would keep me in a lower tax bracket though, so that I wouldn’t pay as much tax. Of course, saving for anything would be impossible.

          In Oz, you don’t have to do a lot of overtime to cross the tax threshold. It’s a disincentive to work harder to save more money, but the government has gots to get that money to pay for the tax cut richer people than I just got.

          I do it anyway because I figure once you’ve crossed the threshold, you’re committed to paying more tax, so maximize the overtime to make the extra tax worth it. I don’t do this by choice. I do it because it is the only way to try to get ahead in this screwed up neoliberal world.

    • Sierra7 says:

      Tim Tim:
      “Invert” the “V”

  3. DeerInHeadlights says:

    Love the charts Wolf. Complicated and busy charts are easy to create. Simple ones, with just the right amount of detail, not so much.

  4. Dave Mac says:

    Joe Biden promised to crush the virus so it looks like a strict lockdown is coming in 2021.

    That can only mean more extreme pain for airlines.



    • Wolf Richter says:

      I doubt there will be a “strict lockdown,” or any lockdown, though there may be a national mask mandate, rules concerning mass-spreader venues and events (indoor dining & bars, gyms, etc.), and lots of recommendations for local authorities to follow as needed.

    • MonkeyBusiness says:

      No appetite for lockdowns. Red states might just revolt. Heck some blue states too.

      We are also not in a state of war. I am not sure if the President has the authority to call for a national lockdown.

      • QQQBall says:


        Maybe they prod the CDC to do it – SCIENCE!

      • MarMar says:

        At this point I think we should all push back on executives of any kind doing lockdowns. We’ve been in the pandemic for several months. These decisions should be made by the legislative branch.

        • MCH says:

          Why would we want to do that?

          If it works, the legislative branch would never do such a thing anyway, too divided. Once the executive branch changes hand, they need to do exactly this because that’s what’s needed. Otherwise, we’ll keep going on like we have. May be the infection rate slows for a bit, but it’ll keep going forward, slow spread instead of fast spread.

      • Sierra7 says:

        Monkey Business:
        “Patriot Act”
        (Perpetual “state of war”)

      • Fat Chewer. says:

        I can assure you that there was no appetite for lockdowns here either, yet it happened.

        Lockdowns suck, but even this cynic has to admit that it has been effective.

        • Lee says:

          Yes, it has been ‘effective’, but at what cost?

          We never should have had to lockdown here in Victoria in the first place.

          The entire mess was caused by the State Labor government and their botched hotel quarantine program.

          People did the right thing and we were basically virus free. The “SGT SCHULTZ” state government implemented that hotel program, but nobody in the government knows who did it and how it was set up……………

          Tyical bunch of idiots and the people paid the price and we are still paying the price.

          Now that we made the targets they still refuse end the various measures put in place.

          International tourism is dead, the international student market is dead, many businesses have been killed, China is stomping on many Australian exports, and the government has run up a huge deficit and will continue to do so for years to come.

          The government is still paying wages for millions of Australians too, but at the same time told self funded retirees to pound sand: you need money – sell your house.

          They gave billions and billions to basically every Tom, Dick, and Harry including this and that business (except universities) and excluded that group of people.

          The central bank cut interest rates and the banks didn’t pass the cut on to their variable rate customers. More money in their pockets, again.

          The S*** hasn’t hit the fan yet, but it will.

    • Lee says:

      If Biden becomes President, and he still hasn’t won yet, despite the MSM thinking that they have some mysterious legal power to decide elections and annoint the winner, the President has zero legal power to call for a lockdown, a mask mandate, or any other national restrictions short of imposing martial law.

      And I’d like to remind people that many Democrat govs basically told the current Pres to pound sand when thought about doing something nationally.

      And if the dope actually tried to to something it would end up at the Supreme Court quite quickly.

      Not even here in nanny Australia can the Federal government do something like that. They can and have banned people from leaving the country without persmission (they control immigration law), but the individual states have the power here.

      Borders are still closed between states and even though in Victoria we have had 14 days in a row now with no new confirmed cases by testing and no new deaths, the state government here will not relax the lockdown rules even though we’ve met the required targets they set when the pandemic hit.

      How about that: moving the goal posts again.

      • Escierto says:

        Interesting that Trump’s zombies were quick to claim victory in 2016 based on the MSM. Of course now that it’s the other way, it’s fraud fraud fraud.

        • Fat Chewer. says:

          Yes, the hubris of the RWNJs is astounding. Do as I say, not as I do. Unbelievable.

      • Fat Chewer. says:

        If the Federal government had wanted to do anything, it could have easily found some legal method to do so. Creating an immigration excise zone to stop boat people was, on the surface, impossible. Yet it was done, despite the very real legal objections to it. Where there’s a will there’s a way. The only will ol’ Scott from Marketing (the soft brained happy clapper) has is doing the will of his Lord and Master, Rupert Murdoch.

        • Lee says:

          Ah, Murdoch, the equivalent to Trump Derangement Syndrome in Australia, who is this Murdoch guy anyway?

    • Thomas Roberts says:

      Dave Mac,

      Never believe what a politician says, instead, predict what they will do. Remember Biden doesn’t take office (if he does indeed win) until end of January. Meaning, vaccination should already be under way. A good portion of people will already have taken it, especially, those public facing and those most at risk.

      Also the current climb in infections, will likely have been beaten by the time he is in office. The timing might differ, but, he is speaking as though he decides right now, but, really by the time he could take over, the pandemic will mostly have already been decided and be in the long process of wrapping up.

      The real question is bailout packages, which, the Republican lead senate can still stop and other stuff related to the economic recovery.

      • Anthony A. says:

        The real question is will Biden remember what he said in mid-November if and when he takes office in January. I imagine someone will remind him though and possible write it down so he can read it again.

    • wkevinw says:

      CDC guidance on measures to protect against covid have been available for many months (web pages full).

      I don’t know what can be mandated/regulated from the federal government without a declaration of emergency or something like that (emergency declaration is an official action taken by the federal government).

      The local governments are and always have been in control of the details for covid response.

      There are many court cases. It’s possible the courts will put injunctions on certain actions.

  5. Looks like the airline industry is in medium-term (or longer) decline and will likely be much smaller in the years ahead as Americans find safer, from a contagion standpoint, ways to travel. Rest stops along the nations highways are likely to receive workovers to space everyone out with more PPE’s supplied to travelers, but I just don’t see this change going away any time soon.

    Don’t think I would take a jet engine as collateral on lending the airlines money at this point. Some bargain stocks and bonds stay that way for a very long time or get to be even bigger and bigger bargains. Bottom feeding can lead to financial indigestion.

    The hope of a vaccine is always there, Monday was a prime example of the hysteria created by even news of one coming soon. Since the Covid-19 virus is mutating constantly just like the seasonal flu does each and every year, the 40% to 60% effectiveness of the latter is not encouraging for us to get back to 2019 normal any time soon. The 90% success rate pumped out Monday is a pipedream.

    The question remains, what other industries going into 2021 are going to have revenue declines in the 40% to 50% to 60% range?? It all starts with the top line, sales or revenues, no matter how much you cut from the operating expense line ($10 Million per day burn!!!) you are running on a treadmill as to sustainability and of course, the bottom line.

    • TimTim says:

      Well no, a jet engine might not be good collateral.

      But it would be fantastic thing to strap a keynesian economist to…..?

      • Thomas Roberts says:

        Austrian school economists are also good to strap to jet engines, though, how good cannot be modeled.

        • Anthony A. says:

          Strapping them to jet engines is too good for some of these crooks. Frontal entry is means quicker resolution.

    • Tonymike says:

      Why would anyone trust the CEO of pzfizer, he is a VETERINARIAN for pete’s sake?

    • Fat Chewer. says:

      I can just imagine the next round of Hollywood virus disaster movies. The hero will not be some brilliant yet hard bitten and sidelined virologist, it will be a slick lawyer seeking an injunction against the Federal government to prevent a lockdown. We will all root for the hero, of course.

      • Fat Chewer. says:

        Fat Chewer, you’re not thinking straight. We could make two versions of the same virus disaster movie.

        In one version, a slick lawyer and a hard bitten virologist team up to impose a lockdown and become heroes in the process.

        In the other version, a slick lawyer and a hard bitten virologist team up to overturn a lockdown and become heroes in the process.

        All markets covered. That’s called having a synergistic advantage. When distributed through separate silo channels, the viewers of one would not even know of the existence of the other. It’s modern business theory, get with it.

  6. Nacho Libre says:

    Daily travelers number breached a million in October. It will be breached again for Thanksgiving.

    Moving averages smooth out holiday bumps.

    I say overall recovery looking better than expected (glass half full scenario).

    • C says:


      Love the enthusiasm…..we need more. One data point I can attest to as an airline employee is passenger demographics! They’re not the same as pre-COVID. Our business and high end travelers have disappeared. Yield has collapsed with International being the worst. Vacation travel seems to be the most reliable at this point. For how long I’m not sure!


    • sunny129 says:

      Don’t count the chickens before egg hatch!

      83% of Passengers Will Not Return to Old Travel Habits
      An Inmarsat study shows how Covid has impacted travel plans.
      US Passenger Confidence

      Within the US, only 14% are ready to fly today
      Another 14% will be ready next month.
      5% think it will take longer than a year.
      10% will wait for the end of Covid.
      8% will wait for a vaccine.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Nacho Libre,

      Yes, they did hit 1 million, but a year ago at that time, they hit 2.7 million. Which means they fell 63%. That was over the Labor Day period.

      Here is the chart 2020 v 2019, daily, without 7-day moving average. You see?

      • Sit23 says:

        Does any one know, or is the information available for the year in which this number of passengers used to fly back in the old days. And how many planes, what size, how many employees etc, etc.

      • Nacho Libre says:

        We are looking at the same numbers and drawing different conclusions.

        As I said, glass half full scenario.

        You are comparing to last year.

        I am comparing to April, May of this year.

    • PHIL M says:

      The deck is stacked. Even for those who are open to flying again soon ( and I am absolutely in that camp) local leaders, in my case the Governor of NY via Executive Order have made it next to impossible to fly anywhere. We now have 43 or 44 states on our mandatory quarantine list: travel to any of those states and you face a mandatory 14 day quarantine upon return. What’s the point of trying to go anywhere?

  7. MiTurn says:

    My heaet goes to the employees of Southwest, among others, not knowing what the future holds.

    From the business side, this is an amazing strategy: “And it can still pledge its loyalty program, Rapid Rewards, as collateral, a method by which airlines raised many billions of dollars, including Delta…”

    Really? This is crazy sauce! Proof that desperate times require desperate measures.

  8. IdahoPotato says:

    The pandemic has make it clear to me how I don’t miss flying at all. I won’t be flying anywhere within the U.S. for a while and when I fly international, I will have to et on one of these sucky airlines to the West Coast and then hop on to an international airline.

    American airlines are the bottom of the heap when it comes to customer service.

    • roddy6667 says:

      You can fly to Asia from JFK also. The plane heads straight North, flies over Hudson Bay, just misses the North Pole, crosses Siberia , and on to China or Seoul. All the big Asian airlines do this.

  9. sunny129 says:


    Those stats and stas are trailing reality, developing in real time!

    – The # of infections per day persistently over 1K+
    -“A fall uptick in cases is now killing Americans almost as quickly as the worst week of the summer surge. After that, deaths will be comparable only to the spring surge, when for more than a week daily deaths averaged over 2,000:

    I see that hopium re vaccine is clearly unwanted except to jaw bone the mkts. Ultimately that will stop working when the reality overlhelms the perception narative coming from vested interests in the WAll St and the govt!

    TWO opposing forces working
    More negative than positive

    Positive – Stimulus – should be a large one, unlikely.

    Increase in # of infections. hospitalizations leading more deaths over the weeks. Same in Europe!
    Vaccine – REAL vaccine to get acceptance by the public is atleast a year or two away. PFE vaccinine is a hopium bubble floated up, you know who.

    American (significant majority) public is NOT JUST serious enough about the C-19 spread. Just read the reports from various sources.

    It has to get lot worse, before even BEGINS to get better. I hope I am wrong.

    IMHO C 19 is going UNDO all the credit infusion and financialization of the economy and leak the bubble slowly and bring damage to economy, public and the economy. this is in direct relation to Govts loss of control in containing the virus.

    May be I am wrong but Housing bubble 2.0 burst is NOT far away considering the 2ndary and tertiary efffects virus in the 6-12 months’ this logical considering the loss of jobs business closures++
    (The Housing Debt Bubble Is Going To Burst)
    ria via ZH

  10. Wes says:

    Mr. Richter, the state of Ohio had Covid-19 postive test results 2% or lower for the months of July and August. Now the positive testing at hospitals in Ohio are 13%. The state and counties opened up the schools and colleges in September, however, they wouldn’t admit that this was the cause in the increased COVID-19 cases. The hospitals in Ohio are now nearing capacity and the state is looking at imposing previous restrictions.

    • Zantetsu says:

      Cupertino, CA schools are supposed to start phasing students back into classrooms in January. I used to be all gung-ho for getting the kids back into schools as soon as possible but now I am less sure. I am confident that the school board will make the right call though.

      • MCH says:

        Some SC county schools are already back in session in a very limited basis. Although that may not stay that way through December.

        But I think some CA counties are back in the red again as far as C19 goes, so moving back to the last tier. Not sure what this will mean for SC county.

        Would you put your kid back in though even if the school board says go ahead? hard call to make

        • Zantetsu says:

          The school board has been much more cautious and deliberate than I ever would have been, so yes, if they think it’s time to go back, I will be fine with it.

        • MCH says:

          See, you thought it thru and basically answered your own question, come January, if the school board opens up the school, you would trust their judgment as an institution to follow their guidance.

          Yes, on the other hand, they decide to keep the school closed, you also know that they use their best judgment, and it was in the best interest of the community, and your kids.

          This simply goes back to the composition of that institution and your faith in the ability of that composition to make reasonable decisions.

          From that perspective, you already knew your answer. Then your uncertainty goes away.

          The only reason that you would still be uncertain in that situation is if you actually doubted the institution of the school board and it’s decision making process to start with.

    • sunny129 says:

      Why, that wasn’t expected?

      Same things are happening in Europe.
      Contain methods works for a while but NOT if the complacency especially from younger folks come back.
      The 2nd wave will be worse than the first b/c:

      Vaccine news has already brought some unwise and unneeded relax attitude!
      Crowd events are still happening in college towns.

      It will get worse, before it gets better, not until March/April.
      American individualism/ attitude detrimental to health of community
      but they want their freedom to associate/socialize without getting infected!
      Wait and see

      • Lee says:

        I really have to wonder about some the talk about the virus in the USA.

        Looking at the the data (which is no doubt a poor set of numbers and IMO much of it is GIGO, but that is what we have):

        The USA ranks number one in confirmed total deaths.

        It ranks number 61 in terms of deaths as a % of infected cases.

        It ranks number 15 in terms of infected per million of population

        It ranks 11 in terms of deaths per million of people.

        Now common sense would tell one that in countries that lack testing, a modern medical system, and other examples of 1st world attributes the data is crap.

        Do people really think that the information coming out of say Brazil, Mexico, or even Iran is correct in any respect?

        • Anthony A. says:

          I don’t think most people care much about what other countries data are. They are most concerned about where they stand at home.

          Unless you are a complete moron, you already know what poor (or completely fabricated) data exists in these third world countries. We all know the CCP folks blatantly lie through their teeth and many other countries just report what’s convenient.

        • wkevinw says:

          Correct about data from the developed economies vs the others. The developed countries are the only ones with any credible data.

          Even the developed country data are very hard to compare. Europe handles unemployment differently than the US, for example. In Europe they have subsidies for employers to keep people employed, so their unemployment rate appears lower. In the US, people get sent money and stay unemployed.

          If you look at the whole Eurozone vs the US, the experience of infections, etc. are similar. It’s silly to take absolute numbers from the US and say it has the highest of anything vs a Eurozone country. The US is far more populous than any single Eurozone country.

        • Lee says:

          Yes, but people like to blame the current leader of the US for the mess and use those number to show how bad the USA has handled the crisis while at the same time ignoring the data in other countries which in many cases is even worse.

          Like here in Oz where the labor faithful praise the current head of the government in Victoria for ‘doing a good job’ (They only killed 600 or so people as a result of their botched hotel quarantine program), but rail against Mr Trump in the USA……………..

    • MonkeyBusiness says:

      200 million students are back in school in China. Heck, most people have returned to the office.

      We can do whatever we want in the US as long as people follow common sense and wear masks properly. However we as a people seem to have misplaced common sense and I see a lot of people not wearing their masks properly.

      We are doomed.

      • Lee says:

        “However we as a people seem to have misplaced common sense and I see a lot of people not wearing their masks properly. ”

        Yes, and those people that have misplaced common sense get elected to fill government positions in the USA.

        The Congress and Senate are full of idiots and then supposedly elected politicians start to fill the positions with even more idiots.

        I really do feel sorry for the people living in the USA as a result. It really is unfortunate that the country has to suffer a myriad of fools from local and state governments all the way up to the House and Senate.

        No wonder countries like Japan and even here in Australia are doing so much better overall in many aspects of economics and education, for example.

        • Wolf Richter says:


          A month ago, you were still cussing out the politicians who decided to lock down Melbourne. Did you already forget? ?

        • Lee says:

          No, I’m still doing it and the current Premier in Victoria is in class all by himself.

          He signed on big time to China’s BRI and bypassed the federal govrenment in doing so. Bought trains from China that still aren’t on the tracks.

          He refused to take blame for the hotel quarantine program which was the cause the current lockdown. He lied about numerous aspects of the program which has been shown by government memos and emails and now he is doing it again with a development scandal.

          Our city government was sacked and put under administration as a result of a variety of reasons, but the main one was that a developer basically corrupted the entire council.

          And then out come the wiretap evidence about the Premier’s involvement in the planning process and the guy still denies everything. He also got huge campaign donations from the guy.

          Previous allegations of using government staffers to help run the election and a process called ‘branch stacking’ in the Labor state government here add to the mess.

          The government here in Victoria screwed up big time and the people paid for it and are still paying for it.

          Comparing politicians overall, I’d have to say that the USA has more idiots, screw ups, and dingbats than Australia will ever have though.

          People in the USA have been poorly served by the government at all levels especially at the local and state levels and the US Congress.

          I mean, how in the world can people elect a person to Congress who thinks that “Guam might tip” over if the Marines are moved from Okinawa to that location?

          And Japan, well, you can ask your wife about that and have her compare them to the ones in the USA as far as intelligence is concerned……………………

          And I wonder which ones are more corrupt when it comes to things like money? Australia is generally pretty clean in that regard compared to Japan, but I wonder about all the rich politicans and their families in the USA that started off ‘poor’………..

      • MCH says:

        China got there because of the draconian lock down they put in place, and locking out foreigners effectively. Not to mention adherence to masking rules.

        A strict lockdown in the US might work if enforced ruthlessly countrywide.

        • RightNYer says:

          Which works in a place like China, with totalitarian leaders and an unarmed populace.

          It wouldn’t work here, not when the average people are armed to the teeth.

        • MCH says:

          You know who is better armed than your ordinary citizen?

          That’s right, the G*******d government. Cause the average citizen doesn’t have access to helicopter gunships or IFVs or Hummers with mounted machine guns.

          But we don’t even need to get to that, your average SWAT teams are better equipped by an order of magnitude.

          So, the government humbly suggests that you Be quiet and follow its orders. Cause it’s good for you.


        • roddy6667 says:

          It worked in Asia, where the highest value is the harmonious functioning of society, not the imaginary rights of the individual. It was not a top-down effort, enforced by the government. Everybody did their part because it was the right thing to do. I was there for the whole process. My observations about the relative value of Eastern vs. Western values were confirmed.

        • paul easton says:

          I am a socialist and a Buddhist. When the government humbly suggests that I shut up and follow orders I will know it’s time to bring it down. No doubt what you call “Eastern Values”, or others might call “Slave Mentalities”, are useful in fighting pandemics, but they also permit slavish societies, so it cuts two ways.

        • MCH says:

          I think the types of institution really depends. Democracy is not the end all, you can’t argue that Xi hasn’t been effective. Although he has been doing more damage to China in many ways, he has benefited from his predecessors vision and works.

          The downside though is that he is just another fallible human, who has his blind spots. There isn’t a check on him that could prevent big mistakes. That’s the downside of a dictatorship even a benevolent one.

          The downside of democracy is easy to see, just look at how many of the so called democracies have worked out. But one can’t argue against its merits, or at least in the case of the US, it’s basic setup. If the US was an unchecked democracy, it would have fallen apart long ago.

      • josap says:

        Lots of masks worn under noses. Lots of people sure it can’t happen to them. Some people still cling to the idea that the virus is a hoax.

        Many people will gather for holidays, because “Just this once.”

        You can see this all day, every day. While our numbers go up and up. I agree there won’t be any hard lock downs, people would rather die – literally.

  11. John seddon says:

    Until over fifty per cent of any of the first world countries residents are given the two stage vaccine, there will be no real recovery in air travel. Expect more airlines to fail.

    The industry survivors will be some low cost carriers like Ryanair who own most of their aircraft and airlines with combi aircraft who have been able to offset passenger sales by carrying more freight.

    Of course there will be flag carriers whose countries and their banks will not allow the brand to fail, such as Emirates. The rest are praying that the vaccine is effective and distributed before their finance arrangements are exhausted.

    • sunny129 says:

      It took 4 years to develop the last successful vaccine against measles!

      PFE vaccine if one analyzes deeply including required logistics is a hype to jaw bone the mkt. Nothing else.

      C 19 will undo all the ‘great(?) things Fed/CBers have done since ’09, not right away but slowly since denial is so strong everywhere,

      Remember: without Fed’s QEs, the S&P would be at 1800 today (Mwatch)
      50% or more of gain in S&P since ’09 came from buy-back shares programs! The great RESETnis coming and sadly it tok C 19’s arrival!

      Maybe , it will be different this time, right?

      • ying says:

        One dose is about 93% effective while two doses of the vaccine are about 97% effective at preventing measles. Unless you have evidence that shorter approval timing will cause serious problem, I don’t think anyone should doubt about the effectiveness of the vaccine.
        Also the print press can be automated faster than credit deflation.

        • wiley says:

          Ridiculous,nonsensical comment!Pfizer’s ceo justdumped a Ton of his stock at the Hyped$!Read what I could of study info.,laughable scienceprotocol,totally not safe,valid,or realistic!Epidemiologists&virologists who are Not corrupted have raised Serious concerns regarding covd vacc. Research protocols,cuttingcorners,unscientific design,0 longterm safety/efficacy studies,0 noncorrupted reproduced studies.

        • sunny129 says:




          (both at nakedcapitalism)

          Comments section has more revealing facts about the ‘wonder’ vaccine by scientists/researchers in the trench’

          Don’t fall victim for hype and hopium financed by WAll St!

          Longway before any REAL, effective vaccine !
          The last successful vaccine for measles took FOUR years!

        • sunny129 says:


          “Also the print press can be automated faster than credit deflation”

          If so why did Fed let, DOT com bust in 2000 and GFC (Housing bust) in 2008 happen?
          They created the current 3rd largest ‘everything’ bubble as a cure for the previous 2?
          How is it working? Stock mkts DISCONNECTED with the Economy on the ground!
          C 19 has made their task much harder! I don’t fight against the needed great RESET!

    • MonkeyBusiness says:

      Bloomberg had an article earlier today about how the virus will spread MORE widely with a vaccine. Remember a lot of people still refuse vaccinations and those who got one will immediately let down their guard (not wearing masks and going all over the place).

      We are still FAR AWAY from getting back to normal.

      I also read some literature on mRNA, and I am far from being an expert on this, but seems like one of the possible side effects might be developing some sort of auto immune disease down the line. I mean that’s not a great tradeoff.

  12. Sam says:

    One aviation sector that will benefit from the pandemic is private jet ownership. This sector has been comatose since ’09 when aircraft values crashed 35-50% and GE aviation capital division going “poof” as portfolio values were written down.

    Textron (Cessna Citation/Beechcraft), Airbus (Bombardier/Learjet), General Dynamics (Gulfstream), Dassault (Falcon), and Embraer are realizing how the game has (after a decade) changed.

    Fractional share operators (Netjets, Flexjet, Wheels up, ect.) lure principles with variations of bait & switch, and after a few years of sticker shock/scheduling difficulties…the principles decide to step up and become outright owners.

    Not inexpensive, but aircraft ownership puts owners mind at ease when there’s no longer any concern about “who is sitting ahead, behind, and besides them. And on their schedule…

    Having access to 10x the number of US airports available instead of 503 major airports w/commercial air service opens up one’s travel universe.
    [NPIAS data]

    Happy Trails……

    • Arizona Slim says:

      If you’d like to see this idea in action, check out Greg Mink’s Premier 1 Driver videos on YouTube. He runs a medical equipment company and fries his jet to meetings with his customers. Very engaging videos — you’ll like them.

      • Arizona Slim says:

        Oops. My bad. He *flies* his jet.

        • Sam says:

          Lack of thrust reversers on VLJ’s (very lite jets), such as the (late) Eclipse 500/Premier1/Phenom 100/Honda/Mustang come with penalties in landing characteristics.
          Come in at plus 10 i knots over mfg listed approach/landing speed (Vref) and you might experience a 50% increased in min. landing distance. Their ‘dump’ airspeed bleed off protocol does not tolerate coming ‘hot’ (fast). Or any monkeying around with flt controls to bleed off excess airspeed.
          Jack Roush experienced what can go wrong (induced stall to slow the ship) when he crashed his Premier in ’10 at Oshkosh (EAA airshow) in front of the FAA. He lived, but broke his neck & lost an eye.
          Better program (bang for buck) is PC12/TBM700 platform if your mission is 1k miles…it time for a jet.

          Remember, an airplane does not care what your worth. Its only concern is with what it needs (to accomplish its mission).

          Happy Trails….

        • Wolf Richter says:

          Arizona Slim,

          I prefer the original “fries his jet”. It’s a classic ?

  13. MCH says:

    At this point, the airlines are already in the toilet anyway.

    If Biden is absolutely serious about following the science, he puts the entire country in a Melbourne style lock down for two to three months. Restrict travel on all airlines, close all bars, restaurants, major places of gathering. Masks for anyone outside of their home. Anyone without a mask outside of their home gets an instant $1k fine (or pick a number) regardless of the situation. Then he pushes through a massive stimulus. Cancel student loan debt like Warren wants him to.

    Does this sound draconian? Absolutely, but it’s what some people say Trump ought to have done in the beginning. Now if a combination of this and vaccine as it arrives doesn’t change the infection rates, then we’ll know the science is wrong and the scientists were full of S*** anyway. At least this way we’ll know for sure.

    • Anthony A. says:

      “Cancel student loan debt like Warren wants him to.”

      What has this got to do with controlling the virus? And besides, why even do this in the first place?

  14. Brant Lee says:

    Funny how One finds himself in the same routine these days until something goes wrong. I do shopping at the same time (early as possible), only as needed, see the same people at the same stores. Same gas station, same drive-thru fast-foods. My comfort zone is getting boring, but it’s safe so far.

  15. BillyBob says:

    I’m not flying until they stop tracking people through their phones. My cousins flew into NY and the police came anytime they left the house. The only time they were able to get out was if they didn’t have their phones on them. I think they had another method of tracking, too. Thanks Big Brother. ID 2020, good times.

  16. Martha Careful says:

    Re:”Checkpoint screenings were down 71.3% compared to the same weekday in the same week last year.”

    Does anyone realistically think travel is going to be less risky as the virus explodes in the next several months, or explode into the late Spring?

    Even if a vaccine is somewhat ready by mid January, the logistical challenges and realities are going to be overwhelming. As the death rate actually becomes a concern, it’s highly unlikely that massive amounts of people are going to start getting excited about being tightly packed inside a plane for several hours sharing second-hand air.

    Maybe, as with the stock market, people that don’t care about financial risk, will feel more and more compelled to not care about personal risk, and thus fly, to where they can party with like-minded morons.

    • MCH says:

      The real question is given there is no lock down possible until January at the earliest, what is the worst case scenario now? The vaccine likely won’t be ready for at least another month or two even if it gets approval in December.

      • josap says:

        Fauci said we would hit 200,000 infected per day and reach 400,000 dead by the first of the year.

        Until individual people decide to be responsible for themselves and others, we don’t stand a chance. Until the virus can’t find a new host it will spread.

        How many sick or dead until a vaccine can be widely given?

        • MCH says:

          If that’s what it takes… that’s what it’s gotta be.


        • Lance Manly says:

          According to the covid tracking project there were 150K yesterday with a 13% positivity. We had 100k on the 4th with an 11% positivity. That gives about 15 day doubling time. We may hit 200k by the end of next week. Deaths will follow about three weeks behind, though at a much lower rate than the spring since we are so much better at treating it.

          >How many sick or dead until a vaccine can be widely given?

          A lot

    • pbfurn says:

      Every discussion needs a good scold. Thanks for participating.

  17. BuySome says:

    Demented corporate zombies still trying to spread the disease on wings to every hollow in reach. Well have “Roll on one”. Now let’s get to “Roll on two” and be done with it. No more pardons. No stay of execution. Carry out the sentence and move on. Next!!!

  18. Lisa J. says:

    My husband has finally come to hate air travel so badly that he’s actually decided that he’d rather endure driving to wherever we’re going to go in the future than keep getting hazed and irradiated by the TSA, being forced to listen to the babies that the parents inevitably drag on board scream and cry the whole way, and having to pay outrageous fees to be treated like crap by the airlines themselves. Now he wants to keep away from COVID, too. I couldn’t agree more. Actually, our last cross country drive (the first in many years) was rather fun. So, bye-bye, sardine cans in the sky! You’re going to see a LOT less of these to former passengers in the future!

    • Anthony A. says:

      Lisa, after almost 40 years of business travel by air, I am over it too. The airlines can keep or sell my remaining FF miles. And I will drive everywhere we want to go. I have already done three 4,000+ driving trips PRIOR to CCP19. There is a lot to see in the USA!

      My wife is “all in” on this form of vacation/family visit driving routine too. We bought a Dodge Grand Caravan (loaded to the gills) and that’s become a great long distance travel vehicle.

  19. Sierra7 says:

    We are way, way beyond “normal” now. Average 60% lost business and thousands upon thousands of others just “out of business”. The major parts of our economy understandingly slumping.
    So many believe the Covid is no real threat to society and insist on continuing to live as they have and do not have any obligation whatsoever to curtail socially contacting or wearing masks.
    If this were just a small part of the world being effected I would say we have to soldier thru until it’s over…..or we have an effective vaccine. But this involves most of the globe. That should be a wake up call that this is no drill and very serious.
    In my opinion there will be no “return to normal” in the foreseeable future. This experience may (or should) raise the global social consciousness of how we have been living our lives, especially those in the “consumer economies”.
    As a retiree in the foothills of the CA Sierras cases of the virus have sky-rocketed in the past several weeks. The pleas of those who wish to protect themselves and others and the official declarations fall on deaf ears.
    Personally I’ve been in “solitary confinement” in my home since the early part of March 2020. When I say SC I must admit it is not intolerable considering that I am not physically uncomfortable and do have contact with an adult child and husband who do some of the things that I can’t do anymore or have trouble doing. That has been my “bubble”. The rest of my very large family I haven’t seen almost all year. And, there are thousands like me in this county.
    There will be no more “normal”.
    Mother Nature is like this. Humanoids believe they can outrun her but long term history shows that that is a pipe dream.
    This is reflected in our general treatment of the gross global environment. And, our definition of the word, “freedom”.
    Freedom for me to do what I please (wear or not wear a protective mask) and )(*&^% f the rest of you.
    “Exceptionalism”: We (I’m) exceptional and if u get the virus you are not.
    Of course too many of the young believe they are invincible. And, there are those who believe they are “chosen” to be spared.
    Mother Nature has a message for u: Don’t fool around! I’m not kidding this time!
    Wear a mask and protect yourselves and those around you.

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