Skift Take

Good morning from Skift. It's Friday, June 17, at airport gates along the U.S. east coast (where Skift editors’ flights are delayed). 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 tourism recovery rates in major markets, the implications of American Airlines’ regional pilot pay increase, and home swapping for business travelers.

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Episode Notes

The travel industry is continuing to inch closer to a full rebound. Skift Research’s newly released Skift Travel Health Index for May 2022 reveals that half of the world’s 22 largest tourism economies have either made a complete recovery or are close to doing so, reports Senior Research Analyst Wouter Geerts.

Seven countries — including Mexico, Italy, France and Brazil — are part of the 100 Club, meaning their travel performances last month surpassed those of May 2019. Four other countries, including the U.S., recorded travel performances that were less than 5 percentage points off their May 2019 levels. The index also revealed that the travel industry hit 81 percent of pre-Covid metrics, marking the first time the global index score surpassed the 80 percent mark since the start of the pandemic.

Next up, two American Airlines regional affiliates have given pilots big pay raises, a move intended to fix the pilot shortage hammering regional carriers. But Airlines Reporter Edward Russell writes the decision could have significant implications for the larger aviation industry.

New agreements between American subsidiaries Envoy and Piedmont Airlines and pilots union, the Air Line Pilots Association, will see entry-level co-pilots earn $90 an hour. Envoy or Piedmont pilots would start at the same rate if they moved up to a job at American, which would be substantially greater than that at discount carriers Frontier Airlines or Spirit Airlines.

While Piedmont expressed optimism the pay package would help attract and retain pilots, Russell writes the higher pay could have unintended consequences. One of them being airlines phasing out smaller regional jets in favor of larger models to generate revenue for increased pilot pay, which Russell writes would hurt small cities lacking the travel demand needed to support larger aircraft.

Finally, home swapping platforms see a lucrative opportunity to take advantage of the boom in remote work. But Corporate Travel Editor Matthew Parsons reports in this week’s Future of Work Briefing that those companies face the challenge of having to earn the trust of users.

Kindred, which received more than $7 million worth of financial backing earlier this year, is one company that sees an enormous market for house exchanges. Co-founder Justine Palefsky cited figures detailing the large numbers of houses in the U.S. not appearing on any vacation rental platform, which she believes was appealing to Kindred’s financial backers. Members of home exchange platforms pay for an annual subscription and agree to swap a platform-approved house as well as take care of any cleaning fees.

As for how to find an appropriate house on Kindred, Palefsy said that its members would only contact a property that fits the style and date they’re looking for — instead of sending dozens of emails to different homes.

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Tags: coronavirus recovery, skift podcast, skift research