Air Travel Sales Slip Due To COVID-19 Delta Variant

Air Travel Sales Slip Due To COVID-19 Delta Variant

More evidence that the Delta variant, the strain of COVID-19 that has suddenly become more prevalent in the world, is causing people to think twice about upcoming airline travel.

According to the Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC), ticket sales for the week that just ended on Sunday, August 15, were down 41.1 percent compared with 2019, the worst result since the week that ended May 16, ARC data shows.


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Last week’s sales were also markedly worse than the week prior, which were off 34.7 percent compared with 2019.

Travel agencies saw a similar plunge in the value of tickets they sold relative to 2019. Last week’s volume was off 56.4 from 2019. The previous week, volume was off 51.3 from 2019.

The news comes as the spread of the Delta variant is weakening demand in the airline sector. Southwest last week blamed the variant for a recent decline in close-in bookings and an increase in cancellations. The carrier also downgraded its August revenue forecast.

Pandemic-era ticket sales by U.S. travel agencies hit their high point during the week ending July 11, when total transactions were off just 22.6 percent from 2019, according to ARC.

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