Major airlines such as United, Southwest and Delta have all announced purchases of new airplanes for their fleets recently, which is another good sign that global travel is recovering after it ground to a halt last year amid the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The most recent — and biggest — airplane purchase was made by United, which announced on June 29 that it would be adding 270 jets to its fleet. It’s the largest aircraft purchase in the company’s history and the biggest order by any airline in about 10 years.
If a major airline is confident enough to make this type of purchase, it’s probably a good sign that they’ll soon have people to fill those seats. There are other good signs out there regarding travel. In the U.S., nearly 50 million people are expected to travel over Independence Day weekend, which would be up 40 percent from 2020 and approach the high-water mark set back in 2019.
My colleague Chris Pardo also recently wrote about how people are in a travel-ready state of mind and noted that intra-U.S. moves are expected to hit a 16-year high this year. For mobility teams, the uptick in activity will manifest itself as more and more relocations that were paused in 2020 come off hold.
Mix in this mobility volume with all the personal travel and it seems clear that the rest of this summer is going to be busy. That makes it critical for mobility teams and their relocation partners to be as proactive as possible when it comes to planning, as supplier partners (such as airlines and shipping companies) are getting stretched thin. Here’s a bit more on how you can help your relocating employees prepare for this hectic “peak season.”
Including Tuesday's orders, and previous orders it had on the books, United now has orders for 500 new jets coming in the next few years, with 40 planes — many of them widebody jets used on long-haul routes — due to be delivered next year and 138 in 2023 alone. It's a stunning change from a year ago, when lack of demand forced United and all other airlines worldwide to park planes and halt aircraft purchases and deliveries. This year's deliveries of new jets will still be a fraction of pre-pandemic levels. But, like United, Southwest and Delta (DAL) have also announced plane purchases in recent months.