Airline Industry August 17th

TSA Checkpoint Numbers (National)

While Sunday of last week marked the first time TSA checkpoint traffic exceeded 800k passengers in over four months, the rest of the week showed no abnormal changes in throughput. Average daily traffic over the week increased by 13,419. Expect another record to be broken this Monday (8/17) as traffic increases to approximately 845k, assuming it climbs at the rate of last week’s average.

Pre-COVID-19, the most popular days to fly were Friday, Sunday, and Monday. As traffic numbers recover, we are beginning to see these same trends again in the data. (Note: The TSA checkpoint graph accounts for the change in days of the week between years.)

FAA (Atlanta Traffic)

FAA traffic numbers have come in for the month of June. The month of June saw a steady increase in flights to and from Atlanta. May reported a high of 673 daily flights, while June nearly reached 40% of pre-corona numbers at 955 daily flights. June of last year averaged 2,609 daily flights. Expect to see a decline for the month of July, if TSA checkpoint numbers are anything to go by. The ratio will not be 1-to-1 however, as airlines will likely change their schedules to match the needs of their customers.

Delta Airlines

After the sharp 8% jump in airline stock this Monday, Delta stock stayed up for the entire week. With a 5 day high of $30.80, a low of $27.46, and an average of $29.14  DAL benefited from the uptick in passengers this week-closing this Friday at $28.95.

According to this article, Delta plans to remove passenger seats to accommodate cargo on their planes. United and American haven’t announced any plans to do so. Delta’s strategy may give them a leg up if handled properly.

Cares Act 2.0

Coming this Oct. 1st, more than 75,000 airline employees will be at risk of being laid off as the federal aid package protecting passenger carrier employees expires. While discussions on a second federal aid package have been happening for about a month now, a consensus on the terms of the package have not been reached as of the time of this report.

Discussion With Joseph DeNardi

Last week I had the privilege of speaking with Joseph DeNardi, a financial analyst from Stifel Financial Corp. We delved into many topics pertaining to the airline industry, including: his timeline for the recovery of the industry, the obstacles airlines are facing as they try to regain customers, the potential for a second round of bailouts, and much more. 

One topic I found especially interesting was on the loyalty programs that airlines create with credit card companies. These loyalty programs are vital to the industry–generating much stronger margins than air travel alone while providing many other benefits that are crucial to keeping the airlines afloat during the pandemic. 

Mr. DeNardi gives his expert opinion on all of that and more in this installment of Covid Conversations. Give it a listen here.

In the News

Delta Airlines Cabins to Go Naked

Eric Kulisch

Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL) is the only major U.S. airline that currently plans to take advantage of federal authorization to strip passenger aircraft of their seats and substitute boxes of cargo.

“Delta is evaluating the use and opportunity of removing seats in aircraft for cargo purposes. We have submitted the required documents to the FAA for certification,” spokeswoman Debbie Sheehan said. Delta didn’t indicate how many aircraft it would transform into twin-deck auxiliary freighters.

Coronavirus: More job losses loom as airlines industry struggles

Leslie Josephs

U.S. airlines have warned more than 75,000 employees that their jobs are at risk on Oct. 1 when the terms expire on a $25 billion federal aid package that protects passenger carrier workers’ paychecks, about a month before Election Day on Nov. 3. Despite the recent job gains in the U.S., the Department of Labor earlier this month said 16.3 million Americans are out of work. 

A push by airline labor unions and later, company executives, to include another $25 billion for airline payrolls to keep jobs through the end of March has won bipartisan support from lawmakers and from President Donald Trump. But Congress and the White House have failed to reach an agreement on a new national aid package that could include the additional airline support.

Photo of an undetermined Georgia Tech home game during the 1918 college football season. That's when the sport was hit by the Spanish flu and the end of World War I.

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