Monday Insight – August 16, 2021

Enplanement Projections Reduced by 30 Million:

Airports:USA® Now Reflects Growing Travel Uncertainty

Even If Contained Here, The CCP-Virus Elsewhere May Hit The US Economy


It would be really great if we could point to some exciting, across-the-board indications for the rest of 2021. But as a research and forecasting firm, BGI simply tells it as it is.

It just means identifying emerging trends and planning accordingly. Right now, the overall picture is very mixed and the national air traffic demand fundamentals are not encouraging at the  moment.

Okay… today’s quiz.

What do Stevie Nicks, Lynyrd Skynrd, Foo Fighters – and, of course, the annual North Carolina Food Truck Rodeo (?) – have to do with air traffic forecast methodology?

A whole lot – particularly when we are being bombarded by me-too media stories trumpeting the “comeback” in air travel. See, these are just some of the entities across the country that have cancelled or postponed events due to fears of the CCP-Covid pandemic. They are one clear set of harbingers for the near future of enplanements across the USA.

‘Course, all the disappointed loyal followers of the Foo Fighters wouldn’t fill the rest room capacity at a mid-size airport. But it’s now clear that a lot of the country is starting to consider closing down again, due to the uncertainty, contradictory reporting, and outright political game-playing regarding the CCP-Covid pandemic.

Shaving 30 Million Forecast Enplanements. Looking at the latest data from Airports:USA®, the prediction is for a tailing off on air transportation demand in the 4Q, tallying @642 million enplanements, down from an earlier estimate of over 670 million.

Does Anybody Have A CCP-Covid Clue? Hearing what’s in various media sources is certain to keep consumers totally befuddled in regard to what is happening around the country, as well as what this round of infections actually represent. That breeds uncertainty and confusion, which keeps people home.

Unfortunately, the fourth quarter is now in line to see the effects of this…

… On one hand, we have data from Johns Hopkins indicating that the fatality rate has reached a new low. On the other hand, we have the occupant of the White House reportedly researching whether he has the legal authority to force everybody to wear masks, or more correctly, to simply cover nose and mouth with just about anything, in a show of subservience to the Regime. Or, maybe two masks at the same time, which was indicated as his preference in the past.

Then we have other news. Some carriers in the E.U. are considering requiring passengers to use professional-grade medical masks, instead of the hokey talisman stuff that is just there to cover-your-face-to-show-loyalty, as is demanded by the CDC.

Spreading Again Where It Started – And Threatening The US Economy. More troubling news, mostly ignored, swept under the rug, or just missed, is that China is now in a full-blown pandemic eruption. That can affect the American economy, and hence, the dollars available for air travel.

Anybody remember the lifeforms in the media that dishonestly spread the fiction last year of how quickly the unelected regime in China moved to stop the spread of the Covid disease when it initially broke out in Wuhan?  Well, today, the pandemic is spreading across the Middle Kingdom, replete with lower-level CCP hacks getting tossed under the political bus, blamed for not doing enough. It is not “regional” – it is all over China.

That’s probably considered as a big “so what” to most people – it’s an event thousands of miles away.

But it’s also an indication that the CCP-virus is spreading wildly and possibly out of control across the factories where our hardware stores get a lot of the tools they sell. Where many of the appliances sold in department stores are made. Where a lot of the furniture we’re sitting on is made. Where a big percentage of anything that requires a double-A battery is made. Where a huge part of our supply chain is now vulnerable to being threatened.

Go to any store and take a look.. if the flow of goods gets constricted from China due to massive spread of the pandemic, a lot of the shelves will be devoid of product, with devastating effects on business. It is a terrible indictment that much of our supply chains are tied to a country where everything produced benefits a criminal government, but right now many companies in the USA have not moved aggressively – at least on a moral basis – to shift away from dependence on this system.

Think that’s a stretch? It is.  But air cargo capacity is already being cut between the US and China as a result of the spread of the disease. That cuts volume and can raise prices. Next may come ocean traffic.

Stretch or not, this is still a nasty possibility that will affect the US economy, and demand for air travel. Keep an eye on this.

Danger Signs. Back home, the storm clouds are already forming. We have already had two airlines indicate that bookings after Labor Day are softening. There will likely be more. It is noted that one carrier system has dropped service or plans for service at three smaller airports. Plus, it is likely that some pandemic-induced O&D leisure routes could be on the chopping block shortly.

Higher Grocery Costs, Higher Prices At The Pump. Commodities Going Up. Then there is the inflation dragon coming out of its cave. Based on the spending and other largess planned by the inhabitants of the Marble Playpen in Washington, one has to be very much in mental left field or vacationing on Pluto to assume that this is just temporary. This means that there will be less money available for both leisure and business travel than we otherwise expected two months ago.

Log On To Airports:USA® for the latest forecast snapshot updates, more of which will be added this week. While there, check out our exclusive Quarterly Outlook product, which delivers the future for airport planning.


Aviation Unscripted Video This Week

Stand by… with the 20th year since 9/11, we are going to be hitting hard on the fact that the nation’s air transportation system is no more secure than before that horrid event. Log on to our channel on Thursday.

Matter of fact, if you haven’t done so in the past, log on now and take a look at our library.

Great Input. We want to thank the folks commenting on our video last week of the Cuba air service situation. We would note that Boyd Group International is the only aviation/airport consulting firm that tackled the nonsense that surrounded the “opening” of Cuba-US air service in 2014-2015.

Plus, we’ve had more feedback on our earlier Unscripted Video regarding the fallacies and dangers of a headlong dive into battery power as an environmental solution.

It is a potential disaster, unless there are major changes in battery manufacturing technology and the development of safe ways of handling the waste represented by used-up lithium-ion batteries.

Click here to go to the Aviation Unscripted channel on… which is just one of the portals for visitors to Unscripted. Peruse our past insights, and let us know your thoughts.

We’re celebrating our one-year anniversary this month, and looking forward to a fun year ahead.