January 19th, 2023
Hi! This is David with a new Weekly Chart about economic recovery from the pandemic recession.
For me, the last time I boarded a flight was in February 2020, just before the pandemic emptied the global airspace. For airlines, this spelled disaster: Airplanes were grounded, salaries still needed to be paid, and revenues fell through the floor. It took American Airlines four weeks from the declaration of a stage of emergency in the U.S. to applying for $5.8 billion in payroll support from the federal government to avoid bankruptcy.
As global travel restrictions were progressively eased, airlines saw a steady rise in passengers. By January 2021, passenger numbers were up to almost half of their pre-pandemic levels, and by June they were on track to reach old levels again. But by July 2021, this comeback slowed to a crawl:
Over the past month, the number of travelers has remained steady at about 80% of 2019 levels. Other industries are observing a similar trend. Looking at restaurant reservations made on OpenTable, we can see numbers are even starting to drop again:
After restaurant reservations met and even exceeded their 2019 levels in the early summer, they proceeded to drop to about 90%. With rising infection numbers caused by the Delta variant, it's unclear if that's a temporary blip, or the start of a new long and painful downward trend. If you're curious about how other industries are faring (and who's on the winning side of the current situation), check out the economic recovery dashboard provided by CNN.
That's it for this week! For next Thursday, I'll hand it over back to Lisa. See you then!