Skift Take

Today's edition of Skift's daily podcast looks closer at bad tourism signs in the U.S., Air France-KLM's SAS investment, and United Airlines' new planes.

Series: Skift Daily Briefing

Skift Daily Briefing Podcast

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Good morning from Skift. It’s Wednesday, October 4. Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.

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Episode Notes

The U.S. tourism industry has made progress in its recovery from the pandemic, but two major issues are hurting its ability to attract international travelers. What are they? Long wait times for visitor visas and outdated air infrastructure, writes Global Tourism Reporter Dawit Habtemariam. 

Executives speaking at the recent Skift Global Forum said the U.S. is facing fierce competition from overseas destinations that have improved their tourism infrastructure. NYC Tourism+Conventions CEO Fred Dixon highlighted Saudi Arabia as one destination his city is competing against for tourists. 

In addition, U.S. Travel Association CEO Geoff Freeman said long visa wait times in some top markets will cost the U.S. $12 billion in traveler spending. Freeman added those long waits don’t make the U.S. a welcoming environment. In addition, Freeman described air travel to the U.S. as a hassle as roughly 23% of all U.S. flights are delayed or canceled. 

Next, Air France-KLM will take a minority stake in bankrupt Scandinavian carrier SAS as part of a nearly $1.2 billion deal unveiled Tuesday, reports Edward Russell, editor of Skift publication Airline Weekly.

Air France-KLM will invest $145 million for almost 20% stake in SAS as part of an investor consortium that includes the Danish government. SAS will join the SkyTeam Alliance with Air France and KLM as part of the Chapter 11 restructuring deal. Russell writes the deal is the latest in a wave of European airline consolidation that includes the Lufthansa Group’s pending acquisition of Italy’s ITA Airways. 

Russell adds Air France-KLM would see its share in Scandinavia, an area long seen as Lufthansa’s backyard, increase. 

Finally, United Airlines has placed an order for 110 Airbus and Boeing planes amid ongoing constraints limiting flight schedules, reports Airline Weekly Editor Russell.

United said on Tuesday that the 110 planes will be delivered between 2028 and 2031. Russell writes the orders are driven partly by United’s need to replace older jets by the end of decade. The carrier is looking to grow at the capacity-constrained airports around the world. Russell adds United’s latest order will enable it to add seats to its existing schedules at, among other airports, Newark and San Francisco. 


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Tags: air france-klm, air france-klm group, infrastructure, skift podcast, u.s. tourism, united airlines

Photo credit: U.S. Travel Association CEO and President Geoff Freeman, NYC Tourism+Conventions CEO and President Fred Dixon and Global Tourism Reporter Dawit Habtemariam at Skift Global Forum. Skift

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