Good morning from Skift. It's Friday, January 14, in New York City. Here's what you need to know about the business of travel today.
Skift Daily Briefing Podcast
Listen to the day’s top travel stories in under four minutes every weekday.
Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast discusses the bright spot in Delta Air Lines’ earnings report, a new type of holiday for weary workers, and Breeze’s solution to pilot shortages.
Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.
Omicron hit Delta Air Lines hard as the spread of the variant led to large numbers of crew members calling out sick and hundreds of canceled flights over the holidays. But the company believes the worst of Covid is behind it, writes Airlines Reporter Edward Russell. Delta CEO Ed Bastian said during the company’s fourth quarter earnings call on Thursday that he expects Covid case numbers in the U.S. to start showing a fall soon similar to that seen in countries such as the United Kingdom and South Africa. While the airline is forecasting losses in January and February, it projects profits to return by March. Bastian added that Omicron hasn’t had a negative effect on bookings past next month’s President’s Day holiday weekend in the U.S. Although Omicron may be on the decline, the variant will likely impact the airline industry in years to come. Bastian said it will probably mark the shift in Covid being a manageable seasonal virus instead of a pandemic, a development that would enable Delta to operate in a more normal manner.
We turn now to what could be a solution for helping workers dealing from burnout. One New Jersey-based entrepreneur is setting up a network of properties in France that companies can send overworked staff to, reports Corporate Travel Editor Matthew Parsons in this week’s Future of Week briefing. Franco-American businessman Serge Lescouarnec is targeting New York-based companies for his new venture, called Mediterranean Work & Play. Businesses can send employees they feel are in need of a break to stay anywhere from 30 to 90 days at rental homes in the company’s network. Those properties will be large enough so guests can invite friends or family while he’ll organize activities such as hiking and wine tours.
We end today looking at one U.S.-based airline’s creative approach to finding qualified pilots. Breeze Airways’ decision to look toward Australia for candidates has drawn the ire of the U.S.’ largest pilot union, reports Skift Editor-At-Large Brian Sumers. Breeze — the new creation of JetBlue Airways’ founder David Neeleman — has had so much trouble hiring pilots it decided to recruit in Australia using the E3 visa program, which enables pilots to legally work for U.S. airlines. While U.S. carriers have used the program before, those which have have typically been smaller regional airlines — unlike Breeze, which flies larger airplanes and competes with major carriers. However, the Air Line Pilots Association, which represents a large number of U.S. pilots, believes the startup airline should be able to find enough pilots. A representative for the group said it opposes any effort by airlines to use the visa program to undercut pilot wages. While Breeze pays much less than established carriers flying the same jets, that’s not atypical for a low-cost startup.