As the dog days of summer near their end, traditional forms of data such as the Conference Board’s consumer confidence reading and Labor Department’s weekly jobless claims are starting to show strain in the U.S. economic recovery. High-frequency, real-time metrics such as TSA Traveler throughput data and OpenTable restaurant reservation bookings underscore the economic damage. Our chart of the day shows the steep drop in airline travelers since early March when the COVID-19 pandemic set in across the United States.
Despite measured reopenings around the country, the surge in new cases in mid-June has put a glass ceiling on how comfortable business and leisure travelers are returning to the skies. In recent commentary, American Airlines executives indicated they expect the carrier to fly less than half its ‘normal’ schedule during the fourth quarter, with international flights being reduced to roughly 25% of 2019 levels.