American Airlines CEO laments long wait times for visas: Travel Weekly

American Airlines earned $3.6 billion in revenue from international flights in the third quarter, up 13.5% from 2019. But CEO Robert Isom says the results would have been even better had it not been for the lengthy delays many inbound travelers are faced with obtaining a US visa. .

“There are things that we are doing as a country that are actually hampering the recovery of international demand,” Isom said during the U.S. third-quarter earnings call on Thursday. “It could be stronger, much stronger.”

According to a study by the Cato Institute in July, visa wait times for inbound travelers had fallen from an average of 17 days before March 2020 to an average of 247 days. The State Department blamed the delays on challenges related to Covid-19, including personnel and travel restrictions.

The US Travel Association has identified reducing visa wait times as a top priority. Now American Airlines has done it too.

American, he said, spoke with the State Department as it pushes for a resolution to the situation.

Isom said that before Covid, 43% of international visits to the United States came from countries where visas are required, such as Brazil, India and Mexico.

“It’s not like we’re just looking at airfares and ticket prices and airline revenue, these people spent $120 billion when they came to the United States,” he said. he said about visa travelers in 2019.

Isom expressed frustration with the visa situation while American reported third-quarter revenue of $13.5 billion, a record for the airline in any individual quarter, and in line expected by analysts, according to the investment site Seeking Alpha. Compared to 2019, American’s third-quarter revenue increased 13%.

This jump was countered by a 12.9% increase in spending, as fuel prices jumped 82% per gallon.

American reported net income of $483 million for the quarter, down from $425 million in 2019, while offering nearly 10% less capacity. Airfare increases and high load factors compensated for the lower capacity.

Like rivals Delta and United, American said the good times continued in the current quarter. U.S. project revenues in the fourth quarter will be up 11% to 13% from 2019, while delivering 5% to 7% lower capacity.

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