NEW YORK – Demand for business travel on U.S. airlines is recovering but will not reach pre-recession levels this year, the chief financial officer of United Airlines parent UAL Corp said on Tuesday.
“We have no data to suggest” the current recovery in business travel demand is different from previous recessions, Kathryn Mikells said at the Reuters Travel and Leisure Summit.
The airline industry has been hit in the last year by a recession that eroded travel demand and hampered carriers’ ability to raise fares.
But Mikells said the airline industry has gotten some pricing power thanks to industrywide capacity cuts in 2008 and 2009 and is poised to raise fares, despite failed attempts earlier this year to increase ticket prices.
She said UAL has no plans to reintroduce capacity into the system, and she believes rivals also will show restraint.
“Right now, people are very much toeing the line on capacity,” she said.