The Great Travel Industry Takedown

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Bigger Pie Forum | The Great Travel Industry Takedown | Ashby Foote
 
The Coronavirus has clobbered the world economy but for the travel and hospitality industries, it has become an existential crisis.  The consequences are lingering far too long with no end in sight.  Two good examples to examine are the airlines and airports.  The data is really ugly but it is right there on the TSA website for all to see — the daily number of passengers screened by the Transportation Security Administration.  On March 1st, Total Traveler Throughput (TTT) for America’s 503 commercial airports was 2,280,522 people, less than one percent below the 2,301,439 people screened for that same date in 2019.  But March saw the implementation of social distancing and shelter-in-place rules and airline traffic collapsed like the Hindenburg.  By the end of March, the TTT was 146,348 people, a 93 percent drop.  The TTT finally bottomed on April 14th at 87,534 people, a 96.1 percent drop from March 1st.  For America’s travel related enterprises, this is a catastrophe of epic proportions.  The TTT has improved modestly since then to 340,769 people on May 25th, but that is still only 13.5 percent from a year ago.  Fear has ruled the skies – not the fear of flying but the fear of dying from the dreaded COVID-19.
The evolution of America’s air transportation network over the past 50 years is a remarkable story of resilience.  It has been a complex and integrated effort involving Federal agencies (FAA and TSA), state and municipal owned and managed airports and commercial airlines.  There have been start-ups, shakeouts, hijackings, crashes, bankruptcies, mergers and consolidations, not to mention the terror attacks of 9-11.  But thanks to hard work, perseverance and an entrepreneurial spirit, commercial airlines now rank as one of the most popular and by

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