The Alaska Airlines Foundation has awarded $260,000 in LIFT Grants to 25 nonprofit organizations in five states that support education and career development for young people. "Throughout the pandemic, these organizations have creatively adapted their programs and sought to close gaps left by COVID restrictions, lost family wages, and limited social interaction," said Diana Birkett Rakow, foundation chair and vice president of public affairs and sustainability at Alaska Airlines.
Independent travel advisors are reporting an upswing in bookings, with sales surpassing 2019 numbers. InteleTravel data found that 68% of the growth is in land-based travel, especially to hotspots, including Las Vegas, Jamaica's Montego Bay, Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic and Mexico's Los Cabos and Cancun.
American Airlines plans to hire hundreds of pilots this year and next, increasing its previous commitments. "Though we were limited in pilot growth this past year, we are now moving full speed ahead with plans to continue recruiting, hiring and training the best and most diverse pilots in the business," Chip Long, vice president of flight said.
A surge of merger and acquisition activity has hit the travel industry, with a jump of almost 40% in June. Agencies with fewer than 100 employees and sales less than $20 million are being snapped up, but acquisitions also involve travel tech, hotels, service providers and casinos.
Solo travelers will be able to get a cabin for one aboard Oceania Cruises ships without paying an extra fee starting in 2023. The 270-square-foot cabins will have a private balcony with service that will include priority embarkation and exclusive access to the Concierge Lounge.
A jump in travel demand in the second quarter led to increased revenue for American and Southwest airlines as the companies continue to chart a course to recovery. "As people are getting vaccinated, people are traveling. There's enormous pent up demand," American Airlines CEO Doug Parker told CNBC. "We're seeing it obviously with leisure, but it's beginning with business [travel]." Southwest CEO Gary Kelly also appeared on CNBC to speak to recovery in air travel. "People are anxious to get out and about and we want to be there to take them where they want to go."
United Airlines expects its capacity to be higher in 2022 than in 2019, with a record year for European travel and new routes to Africa and India compensating for a slower rebound in Asia. "We think the summer of 2022 across the Atlantic has the potential to be our best season ever, with pent-up demand and easing border restrictions," said Chief Commercial Officer Andrew Nocella.
Air Canada has released a video commemorating Canada's 2021 Olympic and Paralympic athletes. The airline is transporting more than 740 athletes and support staff to Japan on a specially decorated 787, and will sponsor a contest with air tickets as some of the prizes.
Increased demand for firefighting efforts, lack of pipeline bandwidth and insufficient truck drivers are contributing to an aviation fuel shortage at some airports in western states. Wyoming's governor issued an executive order allowing the state transportation department to deliver fuel and airport officials in Reno, Nev., warned of potential fuel supply issues.
Paul "Paulie" Veneto, a former United Airlines flight attendant, plans to push an airline beverage cart from Boston's Logan Airport to Ground Zero in New York City to honor colleagues who died in flight on 9/11 and raise funds for their families. "I am doing this because I want these crew members' families to know how courageous they were that day," said Veneto.