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U.S. air-travel rebound stalls, Citi says

MarketWatch logo MarketWatch 8/4/2021 Claudia Assis
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An uptick in domestic air travel, mostly related to leisure travel, has stalled, Citi analyst Stephen Trent said in a note Wednesday. "The booking curve over the last seven days shows weaker U.S. domestic trends vs. 2019," with revenue from August travel down about 35%, softer by about 15 percentage points and 20 percentage points compared with a month ago, and September down about 20%, lower by 20 percentage points to 25 percentage points. While the real-time daily air passenger counts in the U.S. "remain strong," including a pandemic-era high of more than 2.2 million passengers on Aug. 1st, "it is possible that concerns about new variants, western wildfires/droughts and the seasonal roll-off in personal travel are driving some near-term volume softness," he wrote. In late trading Wednesday, shares of all major U.S. airlines traded down on Wednesday, with Delta Air Lines Inc. down nearly 4%, United Airlines Holdings Inc. losing 2.9%, and American Airlines Group Inc. falling 2.4%. The S&P 500 index fell 0.3%.

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