Research by travel analytics company, ForwardKeys, has found that a rebound is underway in domestic aviation in the USA, with the upcoming long weekend to mark American Independence Day (4th of July) expected to increase demand for flights.
ForwardKeys analysts looked at the numbers of new flight tickets issued between the start of the year and mid-June, which they say show that the bottom of the market was during the first week of April. From then, there has been a steady climb, reaching 42% of 2019 levels during the third week of June, according to the company.
Closer analysis, by type of tickets issued, found that the recovery is being driven most strongly by leisure bookings, which have “substantially outpaced” business bookings since the collapse in the market in early March as the USA handled the Covid crisis.
As of 23 June, the number of new US domestic air tickets issued for travel between 20 June and 18 July – a fortnight before and a fortnight after the Independence Day holiday – were 55.8% behind the equivalent period last year. However, bookings for the start of the Independence Day weekend were just 16.9% behind the same day in 2019.
According to ForwardKeys, a likely reason why this year’s Independence Day travel bookings are relatively less badly affected is that the 4th of July falls on a Saturday in 2020. Consequently, a public holiday is created on Friday, 3rd July and, with it, the opportunity for a long weekend break without having to take time off work, whereas it fell on a Thursday last year.
Economists are expected to pay careful attention to signs of recovery in the aviation sector, because domestic tourism represented 4.5% of the US economy in 2019 – a trillion-dollar industry, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council.
Olivier Ponti, VP of insights at ForwardKeys, said, “It’s inspiring to observe that a rebound is underway; and that Independence Day is the high-water mark. However, a major unknown is how the Covid-19 outbreak will progress and how significantly the latest spikes could arrest the recovery in flight bookings.”