“It’s Hard to Get Your Arms around Just How Bad This is Going to be”
After nearly two decades of recovery and relatively untrammeled growth, the airline industry was crushed into a period of near-total inactivity last month by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. To answer the questions “Where are we now?” and “Where do we go from here?” Connect Travel recently hosted a webinar, “Connect with Air Service Development Industry Experts” aimed at answering the questions.
Shari Bailey, vice president, Connect Travel and general manager, Connect Travel Events, moderated the session, joined by a panel of experts with a total of more than 110 years in airline and airport operations, analysis and marketing. The panel included:
Kevin Healy, president and CEO, Campbell-Hill Aviation Group, LLC;
Laura L. Jackson, vice president air service development, Denver International Airport;
Vicki Jaramillo, senior director marketing & air service development, Orlando International Airport; and
Kazue Ishiwata, Senior Manager Air Service Development, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
The group discussed a potpourri of related subjects, with the following standing out as the Top 5 Takeaways:
1. Come Together to Increase Consumer Confidence:
Every sector of the industry will need to work together to drive messaging on safety and cleanliness. Confidence levels in communities and regions will help stimulate demand.
2. Expect Change: New guidelines will emerge, whether they be social distancing, health screenings, wait times or fees.
3. Fleet and Crew Management is Key: No one carrier (low cost vs. legacy) is in a better place to recover. Airlines that best manage their crew and fleet will be more successful. Current focus will be reviewing their fleet internally to decide what planes will be used moving forward.
4. Domestic to Recover First: Reassurances of safety, distance to home or simply economic ability are just some of the reasons domestic leisure travel is positioned to recover first.
5. Connect and Communicate: Communicating with your airports, partners, colleagues and competitors has never been more crucial. Develop messaging to make visitors feel safe and welcome, and partner with your local, regional and state tourism offices to distribute.
How has your capacity changed? Would you believe it’s down 95 percent?
Vicki Jaramillo: “In the case of Orlando International Airport, our numbers—because this would have been around post-Spring Break as well as Easter—were down about 95 percent as far as passenger traffic. We did have pre-coded 150 destinations that we had served between domestic and international now; we’re down to 50 so. The internationals are pretty much gone for the most part; we still have service to 50 domestic destinations.”
Laura L. Jackson: “I think what we’re seeing in Denver—Vicki talked about demand being down 95 percent. We’re seeing the same, but in terms of supply the airlines aren’t really keeping up in terms of what they’re filing in the schedules. So, for April year-over-year, Denver is only down 43 percent in capacity, but we know that’s not really the case; we’re seeing hundreds of ‘day-of’ canceled flights because the schedules just haven’t been able to keep up with the rapidly changing situation. Airlines, you know, understand a little bit more about where demand is—which is extremely low—that that supply will catch up with the demand that we’re seeing.”
Kazue Ishiwata: “The actual data from March 2020 showed 56 percent fewer passengers than a year before. The first week of March was close to normal. I was still going to the office at the time and every day as I left the office and went through the terminal, it just looked quieter and quieter. Right now, when I talk with the airlines, they only have single-digit load factors. “For international, normally we have something 29 international destinations at our airport that we serve. Miraculously, still have a few flights remaining—mostly to serve the repatriation of passengers. (As of April 16) Tokyo and Seoul serviced by Delta are still there and Japan Airlines’ last flight was yesterday. The British Airways London flight was last week and that was that final one and we don’t know when they will come back. We think ninety to ninety five percent are gone right now.”
Kevin Healy: “When you measure it in terms of seats, it’s down about 90 percent. That’s unlikely to change anytime soon. For domestic, it is kind of hard to tell and … capacity has been pulled about sixty percent. ‘Day of’ or ‘day before’ cancellations aren’t reflected in advanced schedules and you’re operating at a level significantly below that, and I think carriers are looking for what is the level that you can get to and how do you how do you move forward from there. The reality is with this sort of situation and these levels, reductions are extraordinarily difficult to deal with because your systems just aren’t designed to do it.”
What steps have to be taken for flights to resume?
Kevin Healy: “You have to take into account what’s going to happen with crews, and how long can an airplane sit before it triggers different sorts maintenance requirements and, particularly from a crew perspective, the extent that you can keep pilots, mechanics and others qualified; they have to do a certain amount of service over a designated period and, if they don’t, then they have to go through a complete recurrent training to bring them back. That’s the hardest part—making decisions on a fleet level and then putting that into a schedule that’s executable and being able to rotate aircraft crews and others to keep everyone essentially qualified to operate the airlines and do their role in the airlines.
“Bringing it back is tricky now, in that you’re not really looking at it from a planning perspective of adding one flight, but how to rebuild the airline as a whole. So, adding one flight isn’t all that complex when you know all the systems are designed for incremental change. But this is essentially starting over. It’s almost a blank slate in determining what the size of your airline is going to be. You know what your business model is and how that’s going to change region-by-region and where you’re going to focus. But being a planner, I tend to start with the fleet and I think those are the biggest questions that carriers are facing right now and the decisions that have to be made.
“I think these are the kind of questions that carriers are dealing with now. Each carrier will look at it differently. Part of it will be to the extent that you may have been in a fleet renewal process anyway as you’re looking at shrinking the airline. Some of the older aircraft may be retired and never returned to service. The other extreme is the A380. It’s not that old but, as everyone knows, they are designed for very high-density long-haul markets. That (demand) doesn’t exist now, and in the foreseeable future—so that that’s an aircraft that would be way too big.
“Look at a Delta; it’s got some very old aircraft and they use them, in particular ways that it if, you take the MD80 out, there’s not an immediate substitution that can fly the same missions with that number of seats. So, there are a lot of decisions to be made for each carrier. The question is: What is it that you want to do? You can’t look at a single aircraft type for age necessarily, and say those are the ones that you get rid of. You tend to look at the oldest, least efficient and then determine what’s the cost of taking them off the books. And as soon as you do that there’s a whole bunch of other things that would happen to labor agreements and other sorts of things that you have to manage through, which are normally thinks that you do quickly.”
The CARES Act and its Meaning to Airlines and Airports
Kevin Healy: “The Cares Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act) covers almost the entire economy but from an airline perspective and then –I will defer to the airports for the airport portion– $25 billion is twenty five billion is primarily designed to keep crews employed and it’s allocated based on a ratio of payrolls for carriers based on last year. in some ways a carrier that was growing rapidly is not going to get as much as they might have otherwise received.
“The big issues really were the impact from the grant, what portion of that is repayable and the equity impact that airlines would face if they accept those terms. Most will and I guess they’ll worry about the dilution later. But the government will be one of the larger shareholders in all the large carriers—all the majors anyway. The service agreement, or minimum service requirement part of the Act is essentially to ensure that there’s some level of you know access to the overall network across the country and I actually commend DOT (U.S. Department of Transportation) on doing a good job setting a minimum that was reasonable and can largely be met.
“My initial thought was given to the extent of this crisis a solution similar to what was done following PATCO. (Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization, which went out of business following a strike in 1981, which prompted the firing of most its members. Healy was actually not in the industry then.} But the carriers essentially got together with DOT and FAA (the Federal Aviation Administration) to determine who should fly and where in order to get as large of the network coverage as possible and I think DOT at least gave them enough flexibility to be able to do that and it won’t add an extra burden so it. It is a good quick solution and I think pretty well handled.”
Shari Bailey: “in my mind that means that they’ll be ready to go when a flight starts there won’t be that that build-up as long as that build-ups do.”
Vicki Jaramillo: “Well, the airport is going to be a little bit different I mean in the sense that part of (CARES funding) goes for debt service—as far as helping the airports. After 9/11 the airports did not have any sort of assistance and the airports spoke up this time because, obviously, the airlines are impacted but if airlines are impacted, airports are impacted and all your concessionaires. So, it was a good thing that that that the airports were included this time in this particular CARES act.”
And when will they start flying again? August and September for Domestic, Later for International
Shari Bailey: “When do you think we might see some demand coming back? Some are saying July or August. From what I’ve heard that you’ll see demand kind of creep back up in July and August for domestic and international—that’s going to take a little bit longer. Have you talked to the airlines? What are they saying?”
Vicki Jaramillo: “I would say, since we (Orlando) are primarily leisure—we do have, obviously convention traffic—but let’s take the big one which is the tourism demand for the airlines, which will grow once the attractions in the tourism infrastructure can demonstrate that they are safe. And so, just like the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) was created after 9/11, there’s this layer of security now. How we will be safe to go to a theme park, safe to go out to restaurants. That’s what we’re all kind of working on because, as airports, we’re going to be doing something very similar. But people are not going to fly to our airports if they don’t have that confidence level in what your community, what your region, is doing to make sure that the visitors, the passengers, feel safe about coming to your destination.
“So, you we have been in contact with all of our carriers—domestic and international—and they’re all waiting. Universal said it will not open not before May 31st, and we’re still waiting to see when Disney says they’re going to reopen. And that will kind of be an effect that, once they open, others will follow. But there’s nothing, really, right now that we can do to drive that demand until our communities figure out how we’re going to make everyone feel safe and healthy.”
It Will Take Years for Capacity to Get Back to What it Was
Kazue Ishiwata: “I agree that they think the important part of all of this is that passengers and us included must feel comfortable to travel again. I think basically 9/11, as Vicki said, created a whole new system in our industry—TSA and everything that didn’t exist before. I think we should have a new safety protocol and that it should be for everybody, not just destinations or airports and airlines. There has to be a sense of structure and security before people start flying and airlines only respond to that demand. Airlines are not going to just start flying and hope that people will come back. That would make them lose money. I think the flights will start coming back, but when do we come back to pre-COVID-19? it’s going to be a very, very long time and, specifically, for international, I think that the entry protocol needs to be stricter at for people to feel comfortable.”
“I looked at our past traffic numbers and this is total traffic, not just international. The year 2000 was one of the peak years—I’ve been around a long and I remember the year 2000. We were flying high and it actually took LAX 13 years to come back to the year 2000 level in terms of number of passengers. For other West Coast airports, it was this: for San Francisco it was 11; Portland was 12 years; and Vancouver was nine years. Seattle had just started to build up its tech industry and it only took us four years.
“Go back to the way it was? It’s similar to financial crisis of 2007-2008. It basically took us between three to five years to go back to where it was, so it’s going to be a slow buildup back to where we were, but I think that, before that, we must work together to come up with some measures to make passengers feel safe because I’m a passenger myself and I’m not ready to travel.”
Laura Jackson: The other issue, of in addition to safety and security is the economic ability for people to travel. That’s very unknown right now. We all have seen the unemployment numbers coming out every Thursday. More than twenty-two million people have filed for unemployment. We don’t know how permanent all of those filings are, but if people and businesses don’t have the economic means to travel like they did before, that’s also going to be a big impact.
Getting to Clean and Safe
Shari Bailey: “We talked safety and feeling comfortable, and cleanliness. I think they all kind of go hand in hand when we’re talking about a global pandemic. Right now, the airlines are touting cleaner than ever before … and no air filters and closing off the middle seat. Are those things that are going to continue and will become normal?”
Kevin Healy: “It’s natural to compare it to 9/11 and then in other ways it’s different. I think the economic impact is far beyond 9/11 in that the challenge of 9/11 was the safety component and that was solved relatively quickly by putting locks on cockpit doors, changing protocols and other sorts of things like that. And it was somewhat isolated. Then we evolved into the TSA having oversight and then actual responsibility for screening and such. The air filters and air filtration and other cleaning are actually things that existed in advance of COVID-19, and so I don’t know that you’re going to see significant changes in in the protocols there, but you probably talk more about changing—cleaning airplanes and filtration systems—than anyone really ever wanted to know about.
“To unleash demand … really what you’re likely to see is, as testing becomes widespread and you have an understanding of who may have immunity, so it would be both testing for the virus actively and then blood tests that would give let you know whether or not you have the antibodies and other sort of things like that.
“I’ve seen a couple of different proposals or processes that are developing that could essentially identify and very easily be tied into other kind of screening protocols that we already have which would validate that either crew or passengers, or eventually, an ability to say that the people want you know that you’re going to interact with at an airport, at a theme park, at a hotel or restaurant—that has some process in place that gives you an assurance.
Start Selling the Middle Seats Again?
‘The Singapore government, for example, is doing something called SG Clean that has a whole protocol in order to get that stamp of approval. The chief concern is that you can’t really wait until all that is in place before you begin and return to normal and I think that’s going to be the balance of how quickly and whether or not that becomes a requirement to expand travel … start selling the middle seats other sort of things like that because the economics is: you can’t make money and not sell center seats.
“it is tricky and I think confidence is the issue—both confidence from travelers, which generally comes back faster for leisure than for business. You know that one of the first things that you cut when you cut your budgets, is travel. It takes a hit and then isn’t restored until you get around to another budget session—but also confidence for airline planners that go to ‘Where is the demand?’
“As many of the ones that we talked to told us a you can put the service back but you’re not sure that there’s going to be demand there and you when they’re talking about advance bookings today, the good looking advance booking is that they’re not cancelling down. So, It has nothing to do with new bookings because there really aren’t any. It’s when you know how many people are sticking in and thinking well maybe I will try to fly … and in the summer.”
Time for Some “Serious, Serious Cleaning”
Vicki Jaramillo: “I want to just bring up a point that I think both with Seattle and Denver as well as other airports across the world since it’s slowed down to a trickle: we should be taking advantage of the downtime to really do some serious, serious cleaning. We’re clean anyway, but now we’re the most we’ve ever been. We’re sparkling clean, so know that that we take that very seriously. Internally, we are looking at different symptoms not just symptom systems as far as how do we how do we approach this now because, after 9/11, a lot of the airports had to retrofit their security areas and concessions. A lot of that was before a passenger went through security. So, a lot of things had changed as new airports were designed. We’ve looked at: how do you space out your ticket counters, and how do you space out the different lines in order to be able to have this social distancing or to make people feel comfortable.
“You only have so much real estate and you’ve got to decide how best to do it. So, we’re looking at all the different processes and how we can improve it make it safer.”
Thermal Screenings and What Else?
Shari Bailey: “is anybody talking about temperature tax if you’re going to go through security and there are going to be temperature or thermal screenings?”
Kevin Healy: “It’s certainly something that is being discussed. For instance, one company has come up with a way of integrating into an app a third-party test to be able to demonstrate that you either have the (COVID 19) antibodies or have been tested. Just think about an ability to say with confidence that this person is safe. This ability could be integrated with other components of security checkpoint protocol, which means that a passenger doesn’t have to have a temperature check or other sort of thing like that—similar to a TSA Pre or Global Entry type of arrangement so that a pre-vetted traveler could be integrated in into current processes. The good news is a lot of the touch points aren’t necessary anymore.
“When you think about mobile boarding passes and other sort of things where you don’t have to exchange material … there’s less face-to-face interaction in the processes today, but there’s still the question of ‘How do you deal with lines?’ It would be a nice to resolve that problem in the near term, but I would expect that there will be different ways that you modify the processes and, as testing and verification gets out there, you could utilize the passenger profiles with other sort of things, as people would likely say ‘Well, I don’t I don’t want to share too much information.’ Things such as Real ID are beginning to embed data into your identification, so we’re already kind of moving in that direction. How far this goes remains to be seen.
“My chief concern is: You have to be able to do things incrementally, and not wait until you have a perfect system in place or you’ll never get off the ground. We’ve had a lot of questions on who pays for the improvements.”
Shari Bailey: “Obviously, there’s costs associated with them. And we’ve received a lot of questions about that. Who pays for that? Is it the airlines is? it the airports? Is it fees for passengers? And if the middle seat isn’t booked right away, there are going to be fewer people on flights—and the higher the ticket price and …“
Vicki Jaramillo: “Sometimes, what you get from Washington are unfunded mandates where they want you to do things, but there’s no funding for it. Following 9/11, the airports had to work on that and they eventually got some reimbursement. But if the Department of Homeland Security comes down and says ‘All right, this is what airports need to be doing,’ it will probably somehow come to the airports to fund that which relates to the airport.”
Kazue Ishiwata: “With 9/11, we built with our cost checkpoints and things like that. Of course, whether that gets staffed or not, it’s not under our control but we have to count the cost … whatever the cost, it will be passed on to consumers eventually.”
Shari Bailey: “Is there a type of carrier that comes out of this better than others? Is it a low-cost carrier. Is it a legacy carrier?”
Laura Jackson: “I really don’t think we know at this point. I don’t think that demand can simply be stimulated by low fares. I don’t think that’s going to drive demand again—because of all the issues we just talked about. Some of the low-cost carriers have very dense configurations on their aircraft and that’s going to be a concern for passengers as they go back to flying again. Do they want more room on airplanes and bigger room in their seats?
“All of the carrier types have been hit equally. they’ve all seen their demand drop by 95 percent. But they’ve all catered toward different types of passengers and so it really does depend on which types of passengers come back first, and that also depends on the market. There were about 60 percent leisure; 30 percent business; and 10 percent VFR. Which types of carriers cater to that demand? We’ve also got a lot of small businesses. More than 90 percent of our businesses are small businesses, so are they hit harder than, say, larger corporations that might have more funding to keep them afloat? I don’t know the answer.”
Vicki Jaramillo: “it’s pretty much the same for Orlando. They’ve got to feel confidence in your destination whether they’re coming for leisure or for business or for a convention. We’ve taken the steps necessary to make them feel as healthy and safe as possible. It goes back to the testing. What is it? Is it the temperature readings? That doesn’t tell it all, because they could be asymptomatic. So, there will be the technology experts that are going to be looking at all of this.”
Kevin Healy:” Comparing the situation, again, to 9/11—going into 9/11 carriers were not in as good shape as they were coming into this crisis. But this crisis is bigger. However, coming out of it, there was a similar sort of focus. You knew you’re going to cut capacity and the number ended up being about 80 percent of pre-9/11 capacity. And as everyone has noted, it took more than a dozen years to get back to pre/911 levels on the whole. The the carriers who will do the best are those who can keep their cost as much in line with capacity reductions as possible and, at the time, that meant post 9/11 could you get your cost down by 20 percent in order to match capacity and, therefore, keep your cost per ASN chasm or costs in line with a capacity level that you’re putting out there. This is much harder, in that you’re looking at fifty to sixty percent cuts in in capacity and your unit costs are going to go up. How do you adjust and which carriers are going to be able to keep their relative cost position in line the best. It’s hard to be able to point at one type versus another
“Post- 9/11, the network carriers tended to focus more on an international which, you know, has good times at times and bad at others. The other thing to keep in mind is that, following 9/11, you saw a significant restructuring financially in consolidation through bankruptcy processes and mergers and other sorts of things. It certainly is possible that you’ll see additional consolidation in the industry and some potential restructurings again through the bankruptcy process.”
What does all this mean to our frequent flier miles?
Kevin Healy: I’ll tell you one thing: you can be sure of is that frequent flyer programs will stay. They’re incredibly, incredibly effective. In just my own experience at US Air (Healy was director of pricing at US Airways for more than a decade), when we had gone through a series of completely unrelated incidents and accidents and there was … that had a bigger impact on demand, the argument was well how do we get people back and whether or not we should offer discounts and such? At the time, I said, ‘Well let’s just do double miles’ because you’re going to offer a 25 percent discount because someone’s in fear of their life. At that point no one had ever done it. I remember the finance folks saying that it was going to grow our liability, and I said, ‘Well, that’d be a good problem to have because otherwise we’re going out of business.’
“We had tried sending pilots out to give confidence speeches and such. and when we did double miles, business travel returned overnight. And that was early before you even really monetized the program. They’re incredibly effective, and good revenue streams, so that’s not likely to change at all. in fact, you’ll rely more on the frequent traveler programs as a guide going forward. And although there are those programs of global alliances, so they’re not going away.”
Vicki Jaramillo: “You will notice that the three major carriers have already extended and their existing status for their travelers through 2021. I think I saw they want to keep things; they want to keep those travelers when travel does return.”
Kazue Ishiwata: “I think that, for the airlines, the mileage program is a call center of its own, and it’s very profitable and critical partnership and everything; so that will stay. Of course, some of the smaller elements might change but as Vicki says, that the fact that they’re extending the status means that it has an impact on marketing.”
Kevin Healy: “it’s an interesting aside on the frequent traveler programs is one of the conditions of the the CARES Act for its loans—not the grant—is they do require some degree of collateral but the Treasury Department is getting rather creative and saying that you can use your FT program as collateral, which sort of defies conventional accounting standards, but it does at least recognize their value.”
Shari Bailey: “I think everybody’s happy to hear that. We are obviously an industry that is in this together. We’re all going to recovery together. How can we help? I know that all of the airports have worked with their local regional and state offices and marketing prior to this. One kind of joint marketing messaging is it that all of our attendees whether they’re attractions or hotels or DMOs, ask: How can we help you?”
Kevin Healy: “I think confidence is the word. Yes, confidence. There’s no normal guide to say ‘Well, yeah, there’s demonstrated demand, then these flights should come back faster than others.’ Or ‘Let’s concentrate on a certain part of an airline’s network.” I think that communities now know, as far as travel is concerned, we’re going to need to work together to give confidence—both to potential consumers and carriers who are planning. So, if an airline is looking at deciding what level of capacity to restore in a market, having the confidence that they’re there is an integrated plan with the airport and the destination marketing groups and the chambers and others that is going to give consumers the confidence to create demand. That will be vitally important in the decision-making process both.”
Vicki Jaramillo: “Talking from the Orlando side, we work with both Visit Orlando and Experience Kissimmee DMOs. For us, once the theme parks reopen, they have advertising plans to basically get out there and blanket. We do know, and I would imagine the same for the other airports here, is that the drive demand or the drive market is going to come back first before the international market, but we they will continue to be out there to kind of position the destination. We continue to have calls with them every week or every other week because, part of it is that we need to be able to know what is opening and what is going on in the community in order to share that with the airline planners. I know it’s been something that we’ve heard over and over everywhere around the world and that is that we’re in this together and we are, and so we have to make sure that our partners are in this with us as far as our community DMOs as well as on the airline planning side.”
Laura Jackson: “in some respects, were starting from completely zero in terms of data and trends, and so we have to build that together with our partners. We have very good partners in visit Denver and the Colorado tourism office and across the state of Colorado. We’re leveraging resources that we individually have at this time to study these new trends and communicating with each other is really important. So, those relationships that we’ve forged over the past few years where we’ve been celebrating inaugural flights—well we’ll just be working a little bit differently together now.”
Kazue Ishiwata: “I agree, and I think that, in our case, we are actually starting conversations with business travel managers—just so we hear from them about what they look for in terms of a sense of security and comfort that they would like to see at the airport … or airlines or re-entry from other countries where they’d be temperature-checked which, by the way, I’ve gone through more than once when I travel to Hong Kong. It’s not invasive. it’s just being told to hold your head and that’s all it takes. So, it’s not that difficult to do. Anyway, I think that the key is it’s very painful now, but traffic will come back at some point and it’s very important for us to hear from everybody in the travel industry about what it takes to make the comeback more palatable to all of the passengers.
“And from our own standpoint of what it will take to make everyone feel more comfortable to travel again—these are what we can do. We are talking about having some online meetings to discuss ideas about what we could do. Our airport has over 200 and hand sanitizer stations now. These are small things, but every place you go you can clean your hands basically.”
Shari Bailey: We’ve heard these conversations with tour operators, conversations with other marketers, and we all know that we need to work together locally, regionally, through our state and globally to make sure that that we’re all moving the recovery as quickly as we possibly can.
Final Thought: What keeps you up at night?
Kevin Healy: “It’s hard to get your arms around just how bad this is going to be. When you think about the Cares Act and the relief bill and what’s that’s doing in the small business loans and other sort of things that are short-term measures to keep unemployment down with the hopes that this can turn quicker. The hardest thing to forecast right now is when the recovery might come—not just when the recovery begins but what is that curve going look like. And how quickly can you get back to something that is moving towards normal. a slow recovery will have its own impact that you know will take years to come back from.”
Vickie Jaramillo: “it’s just that fear of the unknown, of how long this is going to take how long is it going to last and what will be the new normal because there will be a new normal. We just don’t know what that is and how will all of our responsibilities of what we do change to the new reality of what this world is about.”
Kazue Ishiwata: “We’ve been working on projections of what the year in 2020 would look like and we have a worst-case scenario to something less or worst-case scenario unfortunately the worst case scenario kept changing for the worse. So, the unknown is really the toughest part of it all. Are we actually are looking at potential W curve? We are definitely not expecting a V curve return. Tthat’s just not realistic. We hope it’s not ill and stayed bad. I would think it would come back a little bit but we are actually thinking that, perhaps, there will be another return of more infections when the winter comes back in this part of the hemisphere and in October and November we may hear more cases somewhere else and then people will stop traveling again. That’s the kind of things that we worry about. It’s unknown. But what we thought we knew as the worst-case scenario became worse. it’s very discouraging but I still believe that we will eventually come back … “
Laura Jackson: “I think when I go to bed at night and I think that that was the worst day. This is the worst it can be. The next day you wake up and there’s even more bad news. Yesterday marked the lowest number of people we had through our checkpoints ever, and I thought maybe we had already passed that lowest point. But no, yesterday was even lower. it’s just very challenging and I think it’s the unknown—so much unknown and uncertainty. It’s difficult, but we have all of our friends throughout the industry that we’ve worked with over many years at airports, at airlines, at DMOS. I think we’re all really committed to working together.”
Shari Bailey: “We’ve said it many times—that we’re all in this together and recovery is going to come through us working together and so, I would urge anyone on the call to work regionally, work locally. Contact your local CVBs, your regional and state offices and also contact your airports. They are working hard to get services started again. Let’s move this forward.”