Second COVID-19 Wave Would Be Devastating For Airlines, Says Former Spirit CEO

If a second wave of COVID-19 infections spreads across the U.S., it will be "really terrible for the whole economy," former Spirit Airlines Incorporated SAVE CEO and President Ben Baldanza said on CNBC's "Squawk Box."

No Recovery In 2020: The fourth quarter is traditionally slow for the leisure segment of the airline industry, with the exception of Thanksgiving and other important holidays, Baldanza said.

It won't be until spring 2021 that "any kind of recovery" is evident, he said. 

If gatherings among close friends and family are deemed to be risky from a health perspective over the near-term, 2021 will prove to be a very weak year in terms of demand, and capacity will be very low, the former airline CEO said. 

Baldanza On Boeing: Many airline customers were happy to buy the Boeing Co BA 737 Max planes before the model's fatal crashes due to the economic benefits it offers, the airline executive said.

Now that the plane may be close to returning to the skies, airlines will need to take further action, he said. 

Most notably, pilots may need to undertake new training, Baldanza said, adding that this goes against its original selling proposition. Boeing wanted to market the 737 Max as a plane that doesn't require much new training, much like rival Airbus with its A320 NEO plane, he said. 

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