An Optimistic Spring: Good News for American Airlines Pilots?
People are receiving vaccinations every day, and flight bookings are rising along with those numbers according to a recent optimistic report from American Airlines.
According to the Dallas Morning News, American Airlines will be “reactivating” most of its aircraft in the spring. This comes as a relief for American after the airline lost $8.9 billion last year, pilots were furloughed, and budgets were cut.
The optimism from American Airlines isn’t blind, however. Their numbers point to a return that is close to pre-pandemic levels. Bookings for spring are 90% of those for 2019, the year before coronavirus completely shook up the aviation industry.
President Biden has announced that all eligible adults should be able to receive a vaccine by May 1st. Of course, optimistic deadlines depend on enough supply of the vaccine. Pressure will rise on pharma companies like Johnson & Johnson and Moderna to provide enough vaccines to meet the deadlines promised by politicians.
As Americans eagerly wait to hop back on American Airlines (and other airlines), the reopening of travel may not be so easy. Any spike in COVID cases would cause new hesitation and possible new restrictions for capacity of airlines.
Another fraught dilemma is what to do with the unvaccinated or those who refuse to get the vaccine. Already a fierce political debate is arising around the issue of vaccine passports, which could severely restrict the ability of the unvaccinated to travel as they did pre-pandemic.
The debate about a person’s individual freedom to manage their own health and boy versus their potential to spread a disease to others is not going away any time soon.
COVID has created a number of obstacles for aviation and travel – some we never imagined ever having to confront. But overall, the outlook from American Airlines is positive. Pilots will get to fly again. Planes will fill up. And soon, we should be back to something resembling normal.