) -- Top executives at
say business travel is back and booking trends are positive.
"Business travel has come back in a meaningful way, we saw that in the most recent quarter, and we have not seen a pullback in business travel," said American President Tom Horton in an interview.
Nevertheless, "there was an expectation of continued recovery, and that seems not to be the case," Horton said. "(So) it's premature to celebrate the success of the airline industry -- the current environment gives us all a bit of pause."
American CEO Gerard Arpey added that "industry performance is always highly correlated with GDP (and) GDP is growing. It's not recovering at (a rapid) pace, but directionally, it's headed in the right direction.
American Airlines CEO Gerard Arpey
"I tend to be optimistic about the economy despite near-term doom and gloom," Arpey said in an interview. "It is not that uncommon for a jobs recovery to lag an economic recovery." Indeed, in recent years, Arpey has consistently been
optimistic regarding forward trends.
Meanwhile, JetBlue CEO Dave Barger said the carrier is pleased with its traffic trends. "We're not seeing a double dip," he said, in an interview. "We have strong bookings as we close the summer."
JetBlue CEO Dave Barger
Barger noted that JetBlue's offer of 30 days of unlimited travel for $699, which went on sale Aug. 17, sold out in 60 hours.
In a report Monday, Avondale Partners analyst Bob McAdoo reiterated outperform ratings on
( UAUA) and
stock, writing: "Buy these airlines on recent weakness as travelers are filling planes at profitable prices, economic gloom & doom notwithstanding."
-- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C.
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