Delta Ready for ‘Surge’ as Corporate Travel Outlook Improves

Delta Air Lines executives now expect corporate travel demand by September will recover to more than half of pre-pandemic levels, and their optimism in long-term recovery prospects for the segment is increasing, they said in an earnings call on Wednesday.

The carrier's corporate travel business already began showing signs of recovery in the second quarter, Delta CEO Ed Bastian said. As of June, corporate travel volume had risen to about 40 percent of its 2019 level, he said, up from about 20 percent at the end of the first quarter. Ninety-five percent of the carrier's corporate accounts had booked at least one trip last month, according to Delta president Glen Hauenstein. Boston and New York in particular have shown improvement in business demand, the carrier reported.

Travel from small and midsize business customers continues to outpace that of larger companies and has recovered to about 50 percent of 2019 levels, Hauenstein said.