Southwest fares approaching pre-pandemic levels as bookings improve

Greg Nash

Southwest Airlines is starting to see an increase in bookings and fares that approaches pre-pandemic levels.

The company said Wednesday that June bookings and fares are getting closer to pre-pandemic levels, as there will only be a 20 percent to 25 percent drop in revenue in June compared to two years ago, The Associated Press reported.

April’s operating revenue was 42 percent below April of 2019.

The increase in the number of people on flights is being driven by leisure travel, as business travel is still down 80 percent for the airline.

Southwest says there have been “fairly typical” booking patterns, with the company selling 55 percent of the seats that are expected to be used in June and 35 percent of the seats that are expected to be used in July, according to AP.

June flights are expected to be 85 percent full, while April only saw flights 79 percent full.

In April, the company was losing $6 million a day and is expected to break even, excluding capital spending, debt service and other expenditures, in June, the AP noted.

Southwest was recently named the best carrier in 2020, a year that crushed the airline industry as many did not travel due to the coronavirus. 

The airline industry has been seeing a rise in travel this year with the increased availability of vaccines, and more places are beginning to fully reopen. However, it has yet to hit pre-pandemic levels.

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