Daily Podcast: JetBlue’s Summer Feelings

Skift grip

Hello from Skift. Today is Wednesday, April 24 in New York. Here’s what you need to know about the travel industry today.

Rashaad Jordan

Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast examines why JetBlue is optimistic about a summer rebound, why some tour operators are sticking to masks and how the CEO of Carnival Corp. ends his term

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Episode Notes

JetBlue Airways hasn’t had much good news to celebrate lately. The carrier canceled about 10% of its schedule in the first three weeks of April and it is still struggling with a shortage of pilots. But executives at the New York-based airline expect significant revenue growth this summer, writes airlines journalist Edward Russell.

JetBlue President Joanna Geraghty said on the company’s first-quarter earnings call on Tuesday that the carrier is expected to generate its highest-ever quarterly revenue in the second quarter. JetBlue forecasts an 11-16% increase in revenue from the same period three years ago, which Russell says is a result of airlines charging higher fares. The company is also supported by significant growth in ancillary revenue in the first quarter – a 70% jump from the same period in 2019. Ancillary revenue, which is fees for upgrades such as a seat with more legroom and priority boarding, have generated more money for some carriers than the sale of airline tickets.

However, JetBlue announced a net loss of $255 million for the first quarter. And despite its record revenue forecast, the carrier expects a second-quarter loss as non-fuel unit costs are expected to jump at least 15% from 2019. Meanwhile, executives provided few details. on its surprise offer for low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines.

Next, travel companies are waiving mask mandates for customers and staff following a US federal judge’s decision to strike down those requirements on public transportation. But tour operators are keeping mask mandates in place for their trips despite objections from some travelers about having to wear masks, reports editorial assistant Rashaad Jorden.

Tour operators such as the Globus family of brands are not abandoning their mask requirements as they operate trips to destinations where masks are required for public transport and entry to places such as theatres, concert halls and concert halls. Steve Born, the company’s marketing director, cited Italy – a country where it runs tours – as a destination that has maintained strict mask-wearing rules for indoor environments.

Tour operator executives also acknowledged they had faced customer pushback over mask mandates. Christine Petersen, CEO of smarTours, said she had to insist that guests on her company’s trips follow her rules about wearing a mask.

We end today with a major shakeup at Carnival Corporation, the world’s largest cruise line. Carnival announced Tuesday that Arnold Donald is stepping down as president and chief executive, reports Matthew Parsons, business travel editor.

Chief operating officer Josh Weinstein will replace Donald, who will become Carnival’s vice president and member of the board of directors effective August 1. Parsons writes that it’s unclear whether a dispute over Donald’s salary package prompted the decision to change management. Carnival faced a shareholder uproar this month over Donald’s salary, with 36% of voters voting against giving the CEO a total package of about $15 million for the year to date. in November 2021. This figure was an increase from the previous two years.

The move comes as Carnival, like other cruise lines, is still struggling to recover from the pandemic. The company posted a quarterly loss of nearly $2 billion last December and its stock value has fallen 34% over the past year.