American's business travel demand ‘started to return in a meaningful way’ during the second quarter of this year, American Airlines President Robert Isom has said. Domestic business revenues were about 20 per cent of 2019 levels in March and in June, they increased to about 45 per cent of 2019 levels.
Chief Customer Officer Alison Taylor reported that business travel from large corporate customers had increased by 80 per cent in the second quarter compared with the first quarter. "It's been a steady recovery," she said. "Our travel remains less concentrated on peak days of the week, but the booking curve for corporate traffic continues to normalise toward 2019 levels."
Business to come back to previous levels in 2022
Like other airline in the US, American Airlines is expecting a boost in business travel demand in autumn. Companies that have already brought employees back to their offices typically have shown a lag of four to six weeks before a return to business travel, so American expects a big uptick in October. While domestic business travel should return to 2019 levels in 2022, international business travel will most likely follow on a slower timeline.
"As we go out and talk to CEOs in insurance, in financials, in consulting and accounting firms, everything tells us business is going to come back to where we'd seen it before," Isom said. "Maybe it's in different ways, but we feel really confident, starting with domestic in 2022."