American Airports That Binged on Debt See Travel Slowly Revive

(Bloomberg) — Americans are slowly starting to fly again, which signals a positive turnaround for owners of the more than $120 billion of municipal debt sold by the nation’s airports.

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Some 5.7 million travelers passed through checkpoints in the week ended Oct. 10, the most since the coronavirus pandemic scuttled air travel and halted tourism, according to the Transportation Security Administration. On Sunday alone, the agency counted more than 980,000 travelers, the most since March 16.

Related: U.S. Airline Traffic Rises 11% From Prior Week, Down 65% YoY

The activity is still significantly lower than before the pandemic reached the U.S. and major carriers are idling thousands of employees as a resurgence in the virus threatens to keep travel depressed this year.

But it marks a welcome turn for airports that borrowed tens of billions of dollars in recent years to build new facilities before the coronavirus sent the economy hurtling into the worst recession in modern history. Airport bonds are typically backed by reserves and a combination of fees from passengers, airlines and rental cars or parking.



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Jason Appleson, a portfolio manager at PT Asset Management in Chicago, said muni-bond investors anticipate that air travel will eventually return to normal once coronavirus vaccines are developed and widely distributed. Such optimism has allowed airports to continue to borrow easily despite the financial hit dealt to the industry and the deadlock in Washington over further measures to stoke the economy.

Chicago’s O’Hare International sold more than $1 billion worth of securities in late September and Hawaii’s airport system told $582 million last week. Denver International Airport and Kansas City International Airport are slated to sell a combined $1.5 billion of bonds this week.

“People still need to travel city to city, state to state — I don’t think that will be going away,” Appleson said. “It may not happen in the next six months, but in a year, or two years, things should come back.”

Even so, airport bonds have lagged other municipal securities during the pandemic, with investors anticipating a risk of widespread rating downgrades. They have returned about 1.9% this year, according to Bloomberg Barclays index, less than the 2.9% gain for the broader market.

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60% of Americans Won’t Travel to Visit Family for the Holidays This Year, New Survey Finds

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The majority of Americans say their holiday plans won’t be business as usual in 2020.

The ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is complicating plans for family gatherings and travel in the U.S. this winter. Sixty percent of respondents to Travelocity’s 2020 Holiday Outlook survey claim they won’t be traveling to see family and friends on Thanksgiving, Christmas and other holidays.

Of that group, 1 in 3 say they won’t be celebrating at all this year.

The survey, which was conducted in September, found, however, that not everyone is staying put at home however amid the health crisis. One in four people surveyed said they have a personal vacation planned later this year, while 45 percent of families with kids under 18 said they’ll be taking a trip before 2021 too.

“It’s going to be a nontraditional holiday season this year, so families are gearing up to make the most of it by planning a holiday away from home and using their vacation days to travel,” Katie Junod, general manager at Travelocity, said in a press release.

RELATED: New Research Shows That Just the Act of Planning a Trip Can Boost Happiness

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The survey found that most who are traveling for the holidays this year aren’t waiting until the last minute. Nearly two-thirds of those surveyed said they’ve already booked their transportation and lodging for Thanksgiving and/or December holidays.

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Additionally, Travelocity indicated that a whopping 80 percent said they will be taking road trips as their preferred form of travel this season, while 1 in 5 will fly.

“Two-thirds of respondents said they’ve been able to travel to see friends and family since COVID-19 started, and almost half say they’re feeling happy and calm about the upcoming holiday season,” Junod said.

To see the full survey results, visit travelocity.com.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from the WHO and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a GoFundMe.org fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.

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Black Travel Summit hosts weekend webinar to talk travel

Traveling with kids, taking care of your mental health on the road, traveling while Black – these are some of the topics an upcoming webinar hosted by the Miami-based Black Travel Summit will highlight this weekend.

The two-day virtual event will bring together 26 speakers from around the globe, including content creators and a director for the Seychelles Tourism Board. The event runs from Oct. 17-18 and is sponsored in part by the Hyatt Hotels Corporation, which will deliver a keynote address Sunday.

“This is a celebration of people of color in the travel space,” said Anita François, founder of the Black Travel Summit. “We’re trying to create a connection between us and the travel industry by fostering collaboration with influencers and encouraging partnerships.”

Attendees can register online at blacktravelsummit.com. General admission is free, but up to 500 VIP tickets ranging from $20 to $70 dollars include vendor discounts and a lifetime membership to the Black Travel Summit. Part of the proceeds will go to Dream Defenders, a social justice nonprofit.

VIP tickets come with a curated gift box containing samples from Black-owned brands.

The conference, titled “Movement,” will include breakout sessions featuring yoga and a cooking demo, as well as presentations about living as an expat, building a brand and travel writing.

Other sessions include a presentation by a mental health professional who will target self care and a historian who will talk about Black History Month in the United Kingdom, which is celebrated in October.

Black travelers are a valuable and untapped audience for the industry, according to Mandala Research, a tourism and travel research firm. Black Americans spent $63 billion on travel, according to the firm’s 2018 report, and the number is expected to grow to $90 billion in coming years.

But representation is lacking, said François. She founded the summit about two years ago, encouraged by her own experiences as a British expat in the U.S. and a lifelong traveler born to an east African mother and Haitian-American father.

“When you don’t see yourself in the mainstream travel media, or on a billboard or taking a cruise you almost feel like, is this for me? Is this something I can do? Is it safe for me as a person of color, because I know how America views people of color but how do other countries view people of color?” François said. “Black people have always been traveling, but now the world finally has the opportunity to have a glimpse into what it looks like when people of color travel because of social media.”

In recent years, content creators have carved out a niche for themselves, agrees Ernest White, creator of the blog Fly Brother and host of the travel docu-series “Fly Brother with Ernest White II,” which aired this year on PBS.

“Right now we’re going through a major societal transformation and travel from different perspectives, including a Black perspective, has risen to the top of the social zeitgeist,” said White.

His presentation Saturday will focus

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Hawaii’s murky reopening, more SFO flights, T-giving travel plans + more travel news

In this week’s TravelSkills on SFGATE newsletter…

With just a few days left before Hawaii-bound travelers can skip quarantine and head straight for the beach, the Aloha State’s plan to reopen tourism is showing as many cracks and fissures as a lava field. The confusion and uncertainty around booking trips will likely prevent an onslaught of visitors right away. Plus Oakland just made a very smart move regarding its free testing program. Read: Cracks, confusion appear as Hawaii traveler testing deadline looms

In route news, United plans to revive some transpacific passenger service from San Francisco and add more flights to Florida, the Caribbean and Latin America; Two new Latin American countries open to Americans, American will bring back Beijing service to that city’s new airport; TAP returns to SFO and Qatar Airways is coming soon; Southwest is resuming Bay Area-Hawaii routes and adding new Oakland-Palm Springs flights; a luxury small jet service will begin flying from the Bay Area to four southern California destinations in January; JetBlue moves out of Long Beach and launches a short-term sale on its new LAX-SFO service; Costa Rica reopens to pre-tested U.S. visitors; and American Express opens its largest Centurion Lounge to date at JFK. Read: Routes- Two Latin nations re-open, United to China; TAP, Hawaii flights

Are you planning to fly out of San Francisco International this week? Currently, two of the airport’s four runways are closed down for a major maintenance project that involves repaving a part of Runway 28R at its intersection with Runways 1L and 1R. The project, which began Thursday night, will be underway until next Friday, Oct. 16. Read: Runway paving project could affect SFO flights 

Oakland International Airport announced last week that Southwest Airlines will begin nonstop service between San Francisco’s East Bay and Palm Springs, California (PSP) twice per day starting Nov. 15. It will also fly to Phoenix and Denver from PSP. What’s best about Southwest fares is that you can go ahead and make reservations now, then make changes later with no penalties. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, most other carriers have also eliminated those frustrating fees, which is going to make a getting to and from the Coachella Valley this winter quicker, easier and less expensive. Read: Southwest Airlines to fly between Oakland and Palm Springs for $79 roundtrip

Have you been dreading the annual Thanksgiving holiday crunch, when U.S. air travelers typically have to contend with backed-up airport traffic, overcrowded airport corridors and gate areas, and fully packed planes? Well, don’t worry about all that this year, because early indications are that we could be headed into one of the lightest holiday travel seasons in decades. Read: The good news: Smaller airport crowds this Thanksgiving…
The bad news: Your flight is more likely to be canceled


Even a global pandemic can’t keep international carriers away from San Francisco International and Silicon Valley. After years of teasing its arrival, Qatar Airways will finally land at SFO on Dec. 15, 2020 with four

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Delta posts $5.4 billion 3Q loss as pandemic hammers travel

The summer travel season was even worse than expected for Delta Air Lines, which said Tuesday that it lost $5.4 billion in the third quarter as people hunkered down at home during the pandemic.

Delta officials pushed back their timetable for breaking even, from year-end to next spring, as their previous expectation that COVID-19 would be contained proved too rosy. The airline’s shares slipped in afternoon trading.

However, executives said passengers are starting to return and bookings for Thanksgiving and Christmas are looking up.

“It’s slow, but it’s steady — week by week, they are coming back,” CEO Ed Bastian said of passengers.



MBA BY THE BAY: See how an MBA could change your life with SFGATE’s interactive directory of Bay Area programs.


Bastian said Delta plans to stop blocking middle seats in the first half of next year. That would reverse a policy that Delta has used to distinguish itself during the pandemic from its closest peers, American Airlines and United Airlines, who do not block seats.

The number of people screened at U.S. airports is down 65% this month, compared with last October, but that’s better than the 68% decline in September, the 71% drop in August and the 96% plunge in mid-April.

Most of the people flying now are low-fare leisure travelers. Delta depends heavily on business travel, which is still down 85% from a year ago, Bastian said. Even there, however, the CEO was upbeat, saying that 90% of Delta’s corporate customers have put some employees back in the air — just not many of them.

Bastian said a widely available vaccine, rapid COVID testing and the lifting of traveler quarantines are needed before corporate travel recovers.

Delta’s loss compared with a year-ago profit of $1.5 billion and nearly matched the loss of $5.7 billion in the second quarter, when the pandemic brought air travel to a near standstill. Since then, Delta has concentrated on hoarding cash — it raised $9 billion by mortgaging its frequent-flyer program — and cutting costs.

Delta reduced its cash-burn rate to $18.4 million a day in September from $26.1 million in July and August, and Bastian predicted it could reach break-even cash flow by spring. Investors are watching cash as a gauge for how long carriers can last in the industry’s current depressed state.

Cowen airline analyst Helane Becker said she was not surprised that Delta said it would take more time than expected to hit break-even. “Air travel demand has been improving, but the pace of the recovery has been slower than what the market wants to hear.”

Delta shares were down more than 2% in afternoon trading.

The slower cash burn comes with a human price: It is possible in part because 18,000 employees took buyouts or early retirement and thousands more have taken unpaid leave. Executives said 40,000 took leave during the summer; 12,000 were on leave in September. Delta had 91,000 employees in January.

The large number of voluntary departures has let Delta avoid layoffs, in

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Airlines and Airports Say EU’s New Travel Plan Won’t Revive Flights

(Bloomberg) — Airlines and airports said European Union moves to help restart flights in the region through a more coordinated approach to coronavirus-related travel curbs are wholly inadequate.



a close up of an airplane: A traveler at Charles de Gaulle airport in Roissy, France.


© Bloomberg
A traveler at Charles de Gaulle airport in Roissy, France.

The measures, adopted Tuesday, fail to propose the replacement of quarantine requirements with coronavirus tests and won’t stop states refusing entry from other EU countries, the International Air Transport Association said in a joint statement with Airports Council International and lobby group Airlines4Europe .

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The proposals backed by European Affairs Ministers seek to set a common threshold for entry restrictions, with unfettered travel allowed between areas with fewer than 25 new cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 people for the previous 14 days, and under 4% of tests showing positive results. None of the 27 EU states is below that threshold. Neither are the rules binding on governments.

“We are pretty disappointed,” IATA Director General Alexandre de Juniac said in a webcast briefing. “We were expecting the European Council at least to be open to replacing quarantines by testing.”

IATA also backs the reopening of borders between countries with similar infection rates and longer delays between the announcement of new measures and their introduction.

Countries across Europe have been sharpening restrictions after a resurgence in the pandemic, with 700,000 new cases recorded last week, the most since the start of the outbreak. That grinds against pleas by airlines to remove curbs they say are stopping people from traveling despite pent up demand.

De Juniac reiterated calls for further financial support for airlines and said he expects that some carriers won’t survive the winter at current occupancy levels. Companies in Latin America and Africa are especially exposed given a lack of state support there, he said.

ACI head Luis Felipe de Oliveira said he doesn’t expect government-owned airports to go bust but that privately controlled hubs in Canada, Europe, Asia and Latin America may be vulnerable.

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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Black Travel Summit weekend webinar brings together travel pros and leaders

Monet Hambrick, the Miramar-based founder of the travel blog The Traveling Child, and her husband James, create content to encourage families to travel the globe. Monet will speak at the Black Travel Summit’s virtual conference, which runs from Oct. 17-18.

Monet Hambrick, the Miramar-based founder of the travel blog The Traveling Child, and her husband James, create content to encourage families to travel the globe. Monet will speak at the Black Travel Summit’s virtual conference, which runs from Oct. 17-18.

Traveling with kids, taking care of your mental health on the road, traveling while Black – these are some of the topics an upcoming webinar hosted by the Miami-based Black Travel Summit will highlight this weekend.

The two-day virtual event will bring together 26 speakers from around the globe, including content creators and a director for the Seychelles Tourism Board. The event runs from Oct. 17-18 and is sponsored in part by the Hyatt Hotels Corporation, which will deliver a keynote address Sunday.

“This is a celebration of people of color in the travel space,” said Anita François, founder of the Black Travel Summit. “We’re trying to create a connection between us and the travel industry by fostering collaboration with influencers and encouraging partnerships.”

Attendees can register online at blacktravelsummit.com. General admission is free, but up to 500 VIP tickets ranging from $20 to $70 dollars include vendor discounts and a lifetime membership to the Black Travel Summit. Part of the proceeds will go to Dream Defenders, a social justice nonprofit.

VIP tickets come with a curated gift box containing samples from Black-owned brands.

The conference, titled “Movement,” will include breakout sessions featuring yoga and a cooking demo, as well as presentations about living as an expat, building a brand and travel writing.

Other sessions include a presentation by a mental health professional who will target self care and a historian who will talk about Black History Month in the United Kingdom, which is celebrated in October.

Black travelers are a valuable and untapped audience for the industry, according to Mandala Research, a tourism and travel research firm. Black Americans spent $63 billion on travel, according to the firm’s 2018 report, and the number is expected to grow to $90 billion in coming years.

But representation is lacking, said François. She founded the summit about two years ago, encouraged by her own experiences as a British expat in the U.S. and a lifelong traveler born to an east African mother and Haitian-American father.

“When you don’t see yourself in the mainstream travel media, or on a billboard or taking a cruise you almost feel like, is this for me? Is this something I can do? Is it safe for me as a person of color, because I know how America views people of color but how do other countries view people of color?” François said. “Black people have always been traveling, but now the world finally has the opportunity to have a glimpse into what it looks like when people of color travel because of social media.”

In recent years, content creators have carved out a niche for themselves, agrees Ernest White, creator of the blog Fly Brother and host of the travel docu-series “Fly Brother with Ernest White II,”

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Contigo Prime Day 2020 deal: Get 2 Contigo travel mugs for under $20

When you buy through our links, we may earn money from our affiliate partners. Learn more.

contigo autolock travel mug review 1



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The Contigo Autoseal West Loop keeps coffee hot for hours, as any good travel mug should. But there’s one feature where this travel mug truly excels, and that’s how it ensures your coffee stays exactly where it should — in the mug. It’s leak-proof and spill-proof. Yes, those are two different things.

Where a normal travel mug lid can be left open, leading to spills from an errant elbow, the Autoseal part of this mug’s name lives up to its promise by sealing itself whenever it’s not being drunk from. When you are ready for a drink, you depress the button on the lid. As soon as you let go, your mug promptly seals itself again.

This Prime Day, two-packs of the useful mug are on sale for $18.99 (previously $44.99), essentially making them buy-one-get-one-free. A single mug normally costs anywhere from $14 to $21 depending on the color you choose. While the two-pack colors are limited, it might be worth it to compromise for the savings.

There is one caveat to this mug. We are currently testing the newer model of this mug, the Contigo Luxe Autoseal, and have found that the lid is prone to growing mold. The lid of the West Loop is structured a bit differently, so it may not have the same issue, but be sure to thoroughly wash your travel mug after each use and let it air dry completely.

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Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Insider Reviews team. We highlight products and services you might find interesting. If you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners. We frequently receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We operate independently from our advertising sales team. We welcome your feedback. Email us at [email protected]

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3 Top Travel Stocks to Buy Now

As everyone knows, the travel and leisure industry is in the dumps right now as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet better therapeutics are coming to market every day, and with each passing day, we are getting closer to a vaccine. Bill Gates believes there could be vaccine approvals as early as December or January, meaning the pandemic could end by mid- to late 2021.

There is likely a lot of pent-up demand for travel after a year of restricted movement. Given the run-up in “stay-at-home” stocks this year, investors may wish to look at high-quality travel and leisure stocks that are still down on the year.

That’s why MGM Resorts International  (NYSE:MGM), Disney (NYSE:DIS), and Expedia (NASDAQ:EXPE) all look like promising “post-vaccine” bounce-back travel picks today.

Sunglasses and a facemask on a suitcase.

Three stocks to play a travel turnaround. Image source: Getty Images.

MGM Resorts International

Barry Diller’s IAC/InterActiveCorp (NASDAQ:IAC) recently took a 12% stake in MGM Resorts, and it wouldn’t be a bad idea to follow this smart investor into the stock as well. Not only should IAC help grow MGM’s digital offerings in i-gaming and online sports betting, but MGM’s core casino properties appear quite cheap as well.

MGM’s casinos consist of 35% of rooms on the Las Vegas strip, along with many regional casinos and two properties in Macau. In 2019, MGM achieved adjusted EBITDAR of over $3.3 billion and free cash flow of about $1.1 billion, versus a market capitalization of just $10.5 billion, and an enterprise value of $25.7 billion. That’s just a 7.7 EV/EBITDA multiple and a 10 times cash flow multiple based on last year’s earnings.

New CEO Bill Hornbuckle just took the top role as CEO and appears to be doing a good job conserving cash in the new depressed environment. Of the properties that were gradually reopened in the second quarter, almost all generated positive cash flow, even with 30% occupancy during the week and 50% occupancy on the weekends. The company is also implementing a $450 million cost-saving plan this year, which should stick around even when traffic returns.

Not only should the core properties bounce back strongly once the world gets a vaccine, but MGM should also benefit from the expansion of i-gaming and online sports betting across America. MGM’s BetMGM app should benefit from MGM’s casino presence across the country, as well as its 34 million-plus M-Life rewards members it can reach via digital channels. BetMGM is already live in seven states, on its way to 11 by the end of the year, with market access in 19 total states.

With a cheap stock just in relation to its core casino business, as well as hidden potential upside from BetMGM and IAC’s involvement, MGM looks like a promising turnaround pick in the travel sector today.

Two young girls on a roller coaster.

Image source: Getty Images.

Disney

Most investors know the Walt Disney brand and its impeccable record of value creation over time. Yet Disney’s stock is still off almost 20% below its all-time highs set back

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Covid Travel: Airlines and Airports Say EU’s Plan Won’t Revive Flights

A traveler at Charles de Gaulle airport in Roissy, France.

Photographer: Nathan Laine/Bloomberg

Airlines and airports said European Union moves to help restart flights in the region through a more coordinated approach to coronavirus-related travel curbs are wholly inadequate.

The measures, adopted Tuesday, fail to propose the replacement of quarantine requirements with coronavirus tests and won’t stop states refusing entry from other EU countries, the International Air Transport Association said in a joint statement with Airports Council International and lobby group Airlines4Europe .

The proposals backed by European Affairs Ministers seek to set a common threshold for entry restrictions, with unfettered travel allowed between areas with fewer than 25 new cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 people for the previous 14 days, and under 4% of tests showing positive results. None of the 27 EU states is below that threshold. Neither are the rules binding on governments.

“We are pretty disappointed,” IATA Director General Alexandre de Juniac said in a webcast briefing. “We were expecting the European Council at least to be open to replacing quarantines by testing.”

IATA also backs the reopening of borders between countries with similar infection rates and longer delays between the announcement of new measures and their introduction.

Countries across Europe have been sharpening restrictions after a resurgence in the pandemic, with 700,000 new cases recorded last week, the most since the start of the outbreak. That grinds against pleas by airlines to remove curbs they say are stopping people from traveling despite pent up demand.

De Juniac reiterated calls for further financial support for airlines and said he expects that some carriers won’t survive the winter at current occupancy levels. Companies in Latin America and Africa are especially exposed given a lack of state support there, he said.

ACI head Luis Felipe de Oliveira said he doesn’t expect government-owned airports to go bust but that privately controlled hubs in Canada, Europe, Asia and Latin America may be vulnerable.

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