In an interview with Yahoo Finance Live, Airlines For America CEO Nick Calio sounded more pessimistic about the travel industry bouncing back completely.
“The patient is still in intensive care, to be honest,” Calio said. “You've seen a lot of anecdotal reports of a lot of travel. We had our best weekend in over a yearthis past weekend. All that's good news. With that said, we're still flying 50 percent less people than we used to at this time a year ago.”
Calio was asked if he was confident that this rally has legs, or will we see a pullback once spring break is over.
“The one thing we've learned throughout the pandemic is that you can plan, but you can't forecast. Our hope is that we're going to continue to see this uptick in the numbers,” Calio said. “We see a really high pent-up demand to travel. People want to get out. They're feeling more confident when they learn about how safe you are on an airplane, as more people get vaccinated. So we believe it is sustainable. But again, it's hard to forecast. This virus has been very tricky. And we're hoping that we're making real progress against it. If that happens, the numbers will stay up.”
Calio said that whenever airlines are back to 2019 numbers, he hopes there are enough employees including pilots.
“Airline employees are different than many others. Not to say they're any better, but they are required to undergo constant training, retraining, certification and recertification,” he said. “So you can't lay a pilot off for two months or three months, throw them the keys to the airplane, and say you're flying Friday. It has to be all retrained and recertified to make sure that we are as safe as we possibly can be.”
One thing the industry can hang its hat on, Calio said, is the continued safety and health of its passenger.
“Going forward, we have no reported cases of a super spreader event from the airlines,” he said. “So when the CDC recently said, don't travel, yet they were saying you can have small gatherings among vaccinated people, did they miss something? The CDC is doing their best to do their job. We have a disagreement about the safety of air travel. People have to be smart about it. And what we tell people, we try to give our potential passengers as much information as they can possibly have so they can make an informed judgment about whether they want to get on an airplane.”
This article originally appeared on Travel Pulse