Fresh off its first profitable quarter since before the pandemic and in the midst of a rebound in business travel demand, Alaska Airlines executives plan to leverage the carrier’s partnership with American Airlines and its entry in the Oneworld airline alliance to gain business travel market share in 2022 and beyond, the executives said Thursday during the company’s third-quarter earnings call.
“Oneworld and our partnership with American have also opened the door to greater access to corporate travel, and we believe [Alaska] Air Group is uniquely positioned to get more than our pre-Covid corporate market share with the tools we are putting in place,” said Alaska Air Group EVP and chief commercial officer Andrew Harrison.
Harrison, who said the carrier recently had its best week in terms of business travel demand versus the commensurate pre-pandemic week, said that Alaska in September “activated for the first time our preferred partner status” with American Express Global Business Travel, “enabling greater access to more corporate guests and quality traffic.”
Harrison added that the carrier has seen “overwhelming response from our corporate clients wanting joint contracts with Alaska and American, providing much more competitive fares and much bigger options.” He said the carrier has been “more generous now with our big corporate accounts” with amenities like priority seating, “and so the whole dynamic there has really improved.”
Though the Covid-19 delta variant harmed demand especially last month, executives said, business travel since had rebounded. “What we’re seeing is an increased steady forward momentum of business demand starting to return,” Harrison said.
Alaska Air Group’s passenger revenue increased 210 percent year over year to $1.77 billion in the third quarter, a figure down 20 percent from the third quarter of 2019. The carrier reported net income of $194 million for the third quarter, compared with a net loss of $431 million in the third quarter of 2020.
Alaska Q2 earnings