Monday Insight – November 29, 2021

International Traffic – Don’t Place Your Bets, Yet

Anybody noticed?

Globally, the entire CCP-Covid situation has shifted in the last 30 days.

It’s completely in the wrong direction for international air transportation. Make no mistake…the newly-discovered “Omacron” strain of the virus is only the latest factor. A lot more has been in play already.

What this means is that the expected tsunami of international travel might not materialize anytime soon.

The News from The Front Is Not Encouraging. As it stands now – and hopefully it will reverse – the barriers to increasing demand for international travel – particularly trans-Atlantic – are going up faster than a moon launch. That could mean that there are some long-haul airliners that might be all dressed up with no place to go this summer.

Let’s get to the bottom line: the media rush to file sunshine stories regarding the return of international travel was just a little too quick. Before anybody even heard of the word “Omacron” there were new dynamics in the international market that will deter folks from booking trips to foreign places.

Business Travel Is In Question. Taking The Kids To See Big Ben Is Out of It. This is not a welcome projection. But it should not be ignored.

Wake up and smell the expanding global CCP-Covid fiasco. Omacron is just joining the party. What’s been going on for weeks across the Atlantic is no billboard for booking that business trip or vacation across the ocean this year.

At Boyd Group International, our forecasts would indicate that the main sector of international demand will be personal travel – the gotta-see-grandma, or just gotta-get-home clientele. That isn’t going to fill the economy section, let alone the front cabin, of the flights planned this summer.

Maybe They Can Sell It As Adventure Travel.  Let’s see… Austria has quarantined people who have not been vaccinated. Germany was last week considering to do the same. Denmark did a 180, going from no CCP-Covid restrictions to re-implementing them. Prime Minister Boris Hairdo of the U.K. looks totally flummoxed, demanding masks be worn, regardless of the lack of hard clinical data on what a “mask” is, whether they work, or how to effectively wear them.

Across the Pacific, other than China, things appear to be a bit more stable. But Hong Kong is tossing visitors – including arriving airline crews – into 14 to 21-day quarantine. British Airways is cancelling flights there until at least December.

And From The Un-elected Folks Who Made All This Possible… We need to remember the thugs running China. The slimier sections of the U.S. media in early 2020 supported the baldfaced lie that the government there had taken firm, exemplary and effective measures to stop the disease. The same Chinese Communist Party that convinced the World Health Organization of the lie that there was no human-to-human transmission of the virus. (The toadies at the WHO, which the Biden administration has eagerly rejoined and is now funding, accepted the CCP’s finding as fact, which was criminal.)

CCP-Covid is now running rampant across China. Whole cities are locked down, in some cases with no concern regarding human safety, supply of food or other things. The CCP is a real piece of work.

Point: in addition to the political issues and indications of possible economic near-collapse in China, the 8 million US-China O&D seen in 2019 is now vapor. Domestic China traffic is also tanking.

The Political Games Continue To Take Precedence Over Health. Just when it was thought safe to get back on the airplane to Paris, now we have the newly-discovered “Omicron” variant of CCP-Covid, that’s reportedly spreading out of South Africa.

Even the name of the strain is an indicator of how politicized this pandemic has become. It’s a hoot that the nebbish bozos at the WHO dubbed it “Omicron.”

But according to reports, the next Greek letter that would have administratively been used by the WHO for a new Covid variant sounds the same as the Chinese character “”  – which is transliterated in Pin Yin as “Xi” and pronounced “shee.”

Oops, can’t do that. Because Xi () is the name of the un-elected political mobster posing as president of China, and head of the government that lied, covered-up and allowed Covid to spread for weeks in Wuhan, and then let it spread across the globe. (Sorry, 60 Minutes, we prefer the truth.)

The Truth is Positive, Even If It’s Tough To Accept. So, let’s not get too excited about a return of international travel demand. It may not be coming as soon as expected.

For the USA, it’s mostly a no harm, no foul situation. The market has already absorbed the damage of the cut in international traffic and the direct and indirect enplanements it once generated. So, while a rebound in that sector would be positive, it’s not a traffic torpedo.

Airports:USA® will be keeping an eye on how this unfolds in the next 90 days… by then, the booking curves should be clear.

Let’s hope the CCP-Covid curve gets clear, too.

Like, downward.


This Week’s Aviation Unscripted Video…

Electric Airliners – A New Modality, Or Just Rechargeable Helicopters?

There’s lots of excitement about the development of 19-seat and even larger airliners with electric propulsion.

It could be huge. Some stories imply they’ll be the new resurgence of short-haul and regional air service.

Been There, Tried That. This Time The Flying Machines Use Different Propellant. Others excitingly describe the ability (wow!) to feed major airports from points all around a metropolitan region, saving enormous amounts of ground travel time, as well as the perfunctory glorious estimates of how much more secure polar bears will be due to reduced Co2 emissions.

Yup, just like was tried with helicopters by (at least) New York Airways, Air New York, Los Angeles Airways, SFO Airways, Chicago Airways, plus connect traffic attempts in the 1950s by National Airlines (MIA-Miami Beach) and Mohawk (EWR-Catskills). All went 86. And not just due to operating economics, which were a black hole from the gitgo.

But that was long ago and in a whole different communication and travel milieu. Here’s a hint: the consumer and related communication trends will be the determinant if these new electric airliner concepts see the light of economic day. Some of the analyses are assuming facts not in evidence, yet.

Standby, we’re going to be putting some of these on the table this week, as-is and where-is.

Log on to this Thursday at Aviation Unscripted video to get some unvarnished perspectives on both the potential for these aircraft and the consumer applications they may represent.

Get prepared. There are issues that the sunshine stories haven’t touched, amid all the clamor about how these are pollution-free machines – which, based on current battery technology, they certainly are not – will change aviation.

Nevertheless, there are some exciting new dimensions in air travel that have not been recognized, either.

If you haven’t yet done so, log on to our Aviation Unscripted channel on Take a look at the library of aviation issues we’ve been exploring for the past year and a half.

We deliver perspectives not discussed elsewhere. Including our topic this Thursday. Click here to take a look at the industry’s most incisive videos.