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Delta CEO expects business travel to return to pre-pandemic levels July 1

The travel industry has been stopped short by the coronavirus pandemic but as the nation recovers, Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian said he expects travel to bounce back to normal.

Bastian revealed Thursday on “The Claman Countdown” that domestic travel should see a full recovery by the end of summer 2021 and business travel specifically could return to pre-pandemic levels by the start of July.

“I think if you take the period from July 1 forward, we’re going to see business travel at levels that were consistent with where we were pre-pandemic,” he said. “There are so many businesses that need to get back out to their customers that have created new contacts they haven’t been able to serve during the pandemic period while they couldn’t travel that need to be back out with their teams.”

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“As businesses [open] this summer… you’re going to see a huge surge in business, just as we’ve seen with consumer leisure demand.”

The Delta CEO also announced that the airline expects to be profitable once again at the end of June for the first time in 15 months.

“Not a big profit, but we’re going to be profitable,” he said, “And I expect as we go forward for the next six months, we’ll be profitable as well. It’s really a good sign and we’re quite optimistic.”

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Bastian also said international bookings have been “very strong,” especially to European countries like France, Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy. In return, he encouraged the U.S. to welcome back visitors from Europe and the U.K.

“We’re working closely with the administration and the authorities about creating a corridor for travel between the U.S. and the U.K,” he said. “And hopefully we’ll be seeing that start soon.” 

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