In an interview with the CBS Sunday news program, “Face The Nation,” United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby says the travel industry could fully recover by January when business trips are reestablished.
The CEO revealed that the Delta variant is especially impacting business travel, which was supposed to be resuming by now.
“It’s particularly business travel. A lot of offices were expecting to be open again in September, and the Delta variant has pushed those opening dates back a few months. My guess is it will now be January,” said the CEO.
Along with Boeing, Kirby also relies on the country’s capacity to speed up vaccination rates to get back to normal.
There is some hope. Data collected by USAFacts shows that 29 states have fully vaccinated 50% of its population or more.
However, there are several states where less than a half of the total population has received a first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. These include North Dakota (49%), Mississippi (49%), West Virginia (48%), Wyoming (47%) and Idaho with only (46%).
United has a strict internal policy about vaccination. Over the last few weeks, the company has warned that those who do not get vaccinated will be fired or need to go on unpaid leave from Oct. 2.
When asked about his stand on requesting passengers to get vaccinated to be allowed traveling, the CEO showed a much softer approach.
“You can get a high percentage of the country [fully vaccinated] as opposed to making it a burden on people that are vaccinated every time you get a plane, a train, any kind of public transportation to prove that you’re vaccinated,” he said.
Moreover, the CEO affirmed to be ready to check vaccination cards if the government considers it the next right approach.
Last week, White House Chief Medical Advisor to the President Dr. Anthony Fauci came out in favor of mandating vaccines for air travel.
“They’ve got great data and science, and if they tell us that they want us to check everyone, we’re prepared to do that as well,” concluded the CEO.