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Good morning from Skift. It's Monday, January 31, in New York City. Here's what you need to know about the business of travel today.

Series: Skift Daily Briefing

Skift Daily Briefing Podcast

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Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast looks at what major credit cards think about travel’s recovery, Delta Air Lines’ sustainability efforts, and Chinese airlines’ financial struggles.

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Episode Notes

Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.

Three of the world’s largest credit card companies — American Express, Visa, and Mastercard — posted quarterly earnings last week, all reporting increased travel spending as many destinations have eased entry restrictions. However, only one of them envisions a full travel rebound by the end of 2022, writes Corporate Travel Editor Matthew Parsons.

While executives at American Express and Visa said they don’t believe international travel will hit pre-Covid figures until 2023, Mastercard CEO Michael Miebach said during an earnings call last Thursday that the sector would make a full recovery this year. The company reported an increase in cross-border revenue for the fourth quarter over the same period in 2019.

We turn now to Delta Air Lines’ sustainability efforts. Despite making significant efforts to decrease the use of plastic, the company no longer appears in a major corporate sustainability index, reports Contributor Ted Reed.

Delta aims to reduce single-use plastic consumption by about 5 million pounds per year by using new amenity kits, bamboo utensils, and wine packaged in aluminum cans instead of plastic containers. The company will introduce the amenity kits in February, which will eliminate single-use plastic items such as zippers and packaging.

However, the Dow Jones Sustainability North America Composite Index, which ranks the top 20 percent of the largest 600 North American companies in the S&P Global broad market index by various criteria, removed Delta and replaced it with American Airlines. While representatives from neither Delta nor the Index made a public announcement about the decision, an airline industry website reported recently that American CEO Doug Parker said in a January employee meeting that American was added to the Index while Delta was dropped.

We end today with a look at the heavy financial toll Covid has taken on China’s aviation industry. Three major Chinese airlines could report losses of a combined $7 billion dollars for 2021, writes Airlines Edward Russell.

Air China, China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines sent separate notices to the Hong Kong stock exchange on Friday, each forecasting enormous losses for 2021. The three carriers attributed their poor financial performance to the pandemic as China’s ongoing border closures continue to hinder the recovery of its airlines. Air China carried only 3 percent of 2019 international passenger traffic last year.

Chinese airlines will focus on the domestic market for at least another year as China is not expected to reopen significantly to international visitors until at least 2023. However, internal travel restrictions could continue to hammer the country’s major carriers as China Southern said a sluggish domestic travel recovery was a major reason for its financial struggles.

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Tags: amex, business travel, china southern, delta air lines, payments, skift podcast, visa