Market Overview

Southwest Airlines CEO Talks Long-Term Rebound

Southwest Airlines CEO Talks Long-Term Rebound

Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV) CEO Gary Kelly was on CNBC Thursday morning to discuss the travel demand rebound following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Southwest Airlines reported quarterly losses of $1.99 per share, which beat the analyst consensus estimate of a $2.35 loss. The company reported quarterly sales of $1.8 billion, which beat the analyst consensus estimate of $1.7 billion.

Kelly says "it's fair to say" trends look "directionally positive" and there is "every reason to believe that November will be better than October."

Since the pandemic began, Southwest Airlines has removed the availability to book the middle seat in each row. The company will begin to start seating customers in the middle seats in December, according to Kelly.

See Also: Southwest Airlines Records $1.2B Q3 Loss

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, travel demand has decreased significantly. Kelly believes "this too shall pass," and that COVID-19, like 9/11, will not reduce airline demand in long term.

"We have to assume that business travel will be lighter," says Kelly. "We'll take five years to start expanding again. Airlines must focus on consumer offerings for now."

Southwest's stock was trading up 2.59% at $40.87 per share on Thursday at the time of publication. The company has a 52-week high of $58.83 and a 52-week low of $22.47.


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