Airline bookings demand shows signs of cracking

Passenger airplane flying above clouds during sunset

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U.S. airline sales took a sizable step back during the last week of data tracked by Bank of America.

Bookings were down -23.6% vs. the level seen in 2019 for the week ending August 21 compared to the prior week's level of -9.3%.

System volume was down 23.5% vs. 2019 and pricing edged 0.1% lower vs. the pre-pandemic level.

"We typically only see this type of weekly change around holidays, so the change is surprising. The only comp issue we have found is that in 2019 Hurricane Dorian was approaching the US at the end of August, which could have pulled forward some bookings," noted BofA analyst Andrew Didora.

Didora and team think that if the booking softness is not reversed in the next one to two weeks, it would indicate more of an underlying demand problem and create risk to the current outlooks for Q3.

On watch: American Airlines (NASDAQ:AAL) -1.38% premarket, Delta Air Lines (DAL) -1.13% premarket, Southwest Airlines (LUV) -1.25% premarket, United Airlines (UAL) -1.31% premarket, JetBlue (JBLU) -1.00% premarket, Hawaiian Holdings (HA) -1.04% premarket, Alaska Air Group (ALK) -1.96% premarket, Allegiant Travel (ALGT) -0.45% premarket, Spirit Airlines (SAVE) -0.55% premarket, Mesa Airlines (MESA) -5.05% premarket, SkyWest (SKYW) -1.01% premarket, Sun Country Airlines (SNCY), and Frontier Group (ULCC).

See Seeking Alpha Quant Ratings across the airlines sector.

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