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Southwest Airlines said Wednesday that it expects fourth-quarter profitability thanks to stronger-than-expected demand for tourist travel, despite the emergence of the omicron Covid variant.
The Dallas-based operator predicts fourth-quarter revenue will drop 10-15% compared to the same period in 2019, when it brought in $ 5.73 billion. Southwest also slightly cut its forecast for fuel costs for the quarter to $ 2.25 per gallon from $ 2.25 to $ 2.35 per gallon.
Southwest’s forecasts are presented ahead of an afternoon investor presentation scheduled for Wednesday afternoon. In 2022, the airline said it expects profitability and estimated that its throughput could range from a 3% decrease over 2019 to a 2% increase, and that costs excluding fuel are 12% higher than in 2019. year.
The airline is in the process of recruiting, aiming to add about 8,000 employees next year on top of 5,000 new employees this year.
Southwest’s network is centered in the United States, so it is less affected by the myriad of new travel restrictions governments have imposed since the option was discovered late last month.
Earlier Wednesday, International Air Transport Association CEO Willie Walsh said in an industry webinar that new travel restrictions in response to omicron, which range from new testing requirements to outright bans for foreigners, are likely to hurt demand in the near future. … but it is too early to assess the impact.