The travel industry has been hard hit by the coronavirus epidemic, with 71.3% of agencies say they might have to close in six months without financial assistance, ASTA reports. The agencies with the lowest overhead have the best chance for survival, with home-based businesses more resilient than storefront.
In a video message, Carnival Cruise Line President Christine Duffy assured travel advisors that commissions will be protected and refunds are being processed, though more complex refunds have been delayed. The no-sail order ends today but the industry has not yet received guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, she said.
American Airlines is launching a coronavirus testing program for passengers that will include at-home and airport tests, starting with flights from Dallas to Hawaii and Jamaican nationals returning home via Miami. JetBlue, United and Hawaiian have also announced testing programs.
Alaska Airlines pilot Lee Erickson captained his last flight with his son, Kalin, as copilot, after he and his wife, Brenda, a flight attendant, decided to accept early retirement. "To give our younger employees, including our own children, a chance not to be furloughed, and a chance to have the same career we did is very important to us," Lee said.
Airlines for America estimates that airlines' net booked revenue for the third quarter will be down 80% from 2019, and data show Thanksgiving bookings are down even more, although Delta CEO Ed Bastian noted that passengers are booking flights closer in the short term versus the long term. Meanwhile, corporate surveys show that business travel will not rebound until international quarantine restrictions lift and will be slow to return.
The US Treasury Department has formally offered loans to seven airlines, including Alaska, American, JetBlue, Hawaiian and United. In the announcement, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin reiterated his call to Congress to "extend the Payroll Support Program so we can continue to support aviation industry workers as our economy reopens and we continue on the path to recovery."
Wade McKinney, who travels extensively as head of BioLife operations for Takeda Pharmaceutical shared his insights on travel and flying Delta Air Lines during the coronavirus pandemic. It's been a story about progress through a series of innovations," he said, noting that Delta has implemented more than 100 CDC-recommended initiatives for safety at every stage of travel, such as face mask requirements.
The Port of Seattle is remaking Sea-Tac International Airport with more than $3 billion in construction projects, highlighted by expansion of the North Satellite terminal and a new $968-million International Arrivals Facility. "The most unique thing about this structure has been building an entirely new structure around an existing facility while maintaining operations in the central core," says Jason Coyne, general supervisor on the North Satellite Modernization for Hensel Phelps.
Hyatt Hotels has added new hotels in North America and the Caribbean to its Work From Hyatt program, which includes private workspace, laundry service and food and beverage credits during a seven-night minimum stay. Properties in Costa Rica, Aruba, Bahamas and St. Kitts now offer packages.
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