United Expects Profitable Q3 with Business Travel Demand ‘Inflection’

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Second-quarter domestic business travel demand at United Airlines recovered “faster than we had hoped,” with continued growth forecast throughout the rest of the year, CEO Scott Kirby said during an earnings call on Wednesday.

While business travel was down 90 percent compared with pre-Covid-19 levels for much of the quarter, it “inflected sharply” in June and improved to being down only 60 percent, EVP and chief commercial officer Andrew Nocella said. United expects two more “inflection points” for business travel demand, with the first occurring after the summer, when the carrier’s executives project business travel volume to recover to more than half of pre-Covid-19 levels. The second will be in January 2022, when companies begin their new budget cycles, he said.

United also is seeing improved sentiment from its corporate customers, with more than 90 percent in a recent internal…

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