Tag: CEOs

CEOs on roundtable have taken time off despite ongoing pandemic

People take photographs of a Key West sunset on Oct. 15, 2020, at Mallory Square in Key West during the daily Sunset Celebration. CEOs were asked: Have you been able to take a vacation of any kind this year, even if only for a weekend getaway? What was it like?

People take photographs of a Key West sunset on Oct. 15, 2020, at Mallory Square in Key West during the daily Sunset Celebration. CEOs were asked: Have you been able to take a vacation of any kind this year, even if only for a weekend getaway? What was it like?


Yes, I have been able to take vacations by car (Captiva) and air (Mexico). In both circumstances, I was happy with the measures taken by the airlines and the local authorities to prevent a spread of COVID-19.

Luis Flores, managing partner, Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr’s Miami office


The demands of the bank have really prevented me form being comfortable with a real getaway. Of course the various phases of PPP has taken its toll on our resources. Working through the various stressors of COVID and its implications on our team members and clients requires monitoring and attention. In addition, my husband and I are still a bit leery about staying in hotels. We are very fortunate to have a little place in Key Largo for weekend getaways. That has been a blessing throughout COVID for getting out to enjoy fresh air and Vitamin Sea!

Veronica Flores, executive vice president, First National Bank of South Miami


My husband and I have taken two road trips to see family and friends in various parts of the country. The first was a flat-out, laptop-left-at-home vacation for two weeks in the upper mid-west. The second road trip was plugged-in time away with regular work hours visiting family. Both were great. In these times of political disconnection, the drives through red and blue states reinforced the geographical connection that we share.

David Jobin, president, CEO of Our Fund Foundation


I was fortunate to get nearly a month away at my summer New Hampshire lake house, just as I have for several years. I chose to drive rather than fly and was diligent in adhering to all the safety guidelines along the way. It was eye-opening as to how each state was handling the pandemic as I stopped for fuel/rest breaks. In addition, this year was different with the sudden influx of remote work technology options that permitted infinitely more seamless interaction, and, almost overnight, a universal acceptance of remote work meetings. I am grateful to have been able to stay closely connected during a critical time for the organization and also benefit from being with family and obtaining important rest and relaxation.

Allan Prindle, president, CEO, Power Financial Credit Union


Yes, I was lucky to take a long weekend in a vacation rental in Naples. It was wonderful. However, our family experienced direct racial profiling as guests in an upper class neighborhood. The police were called and stopped me while on a bike ride with my daughter in front of our beautiful rental home. It was a heartbreaking reminder of our reality.

Kerry-Ann Royes, CEO, YWCA South Florida


Not yet.

Mindy Solomon, owner, director, Mindy Solomon

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Airline CEOs say they can’t recover until pandemic ends

  • Airlines are doing virtually everything possible to keep passengers safe from the coronavirus during flights, and it seems to be working.
  • But air travel demand is still very low, because people will not return to traveling until they have safe, fully reopened places to go.
  • That won’t be the case until a COVID-19 vaccine has been widely distributed.
  • Airlines have one glimmer of hope, but unfortunately, it’s also the least lucrative market of traveler.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

A new study shows that there is virtually no real risk of catching COVID-19 on an airplane.

But while such results would seem great news for airlines that have been racked by decimated travel demand since the early months of the pandemic, those inside the industry say that safety inside their aircraft isn’t nearly enough to bring back their customers. 

The study, co-sponsored by the Department of Defense and United Airlines, found that when passengers are seated and wearing masks, only 0.003% of infected air particles could enter another passenger’s breathing area, even when every seat is filled. It reinforces earlier evidence that transmission on board is rare and unlikely.

And it seems to give credence to efforts by US carriers to enhance safety on planes in an effort to boost passenger confidence. Airlines including United have vastly expanded their cleaning and sanitization practices, and some, like Delta and Southwest, have blocked middle seats to enable a degree of social distancing.

It’s worth noting that the paper has come under scrutiny, first with some consumers questioning the findings given the obvious conflict of interest that comes with an airline’s sponsorship, and later with experts suggesting flaws in both this study and another campaign undertaken by a coalition of planemakers and the International Air Transport Association, a global trade group.

Those concerns aren’t what make the paper’s findings nearly irrelevant to the industry’s near-term prospects. 

As travel demand holds steady at just 30% of 2019 levels, it’s becoming increasingly obvious that the airlines’ efforts will only make so much of a difference when it comes to bringing business-as-usual back on board.

Clean planes aren’t enough

The real problem for the airlines is that there’s just about nowhere to go.

COVID-19 cases are spiking around the US and the world, and a bunch of states have quarantine requirements for incoming travelers. Moreover, many destinations remain at least partially closed. Theaters in New York City will remain shuttered until at least mid-2021. The city’s restaurants are operating at 25% capacity, and cold weather will presumably nix eating on sidewalks and patios. California’s theme parks remain closed; Orlando’s have limited capacity. The bars, shops, museums, and other attractions that lead people to travel for fun simply aren’t available.

Most business travel, meanwhile — which typically makes up just 15-20% of the big three airlines’ passenger loads, but 50% of their revenue — is on hold. Big events like conventions won’t happen anytime soon, and companies are unwilling to risk their employees’ health or

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Delta, United CEOs forecast the return of business travel

Delta Air Lines’ and United Airlines’ respective leadership are predicting very different timelines as to when exactly business travel’s full recovery from the coronavirus pandemic could happen.


Delta Air Lines president Glen Hauenstein said the company believes the pandemic’s impact on business travel would be behind them in “two years or more.”

“With a slow and steady build in demand, we are restoring flying to meet our customers’ needs, while staying nimble with our capacity in light of COVID-19,” Hauenstein said in the company’s earnings release. “While it may be two years or more until we see a normalized revenue environment, by restoring customer confidence in travel and building customer loyalty now, we are creating the foundation for sustainable future revenue growth.”

Delta’s CEO Ed Bastian noted on the company’s conference call for its third quarter earnings that roughly 90% of its primary corporate customers have business travelers who are traveling in small numbers, but are “getting their own sense for what the new travel experiences is,” and that they are ultimately coming back to Delta with “really strong reviews of safety and confidence in restoring their travel spend.”

While video-conferencing platforms like Zoom and Google Meet have served as an alternative to traditional business travel during the pandemic, Bastian doesn’t forsee it outright replacing traditional business travel.

“I am of the view that it will have some impact, but it’s not going to be a substitute, it will be a complement to business travel,” Bastian said. “My sense is that we could be looking at anywhere from 10% to 20% reduction in the next couple of years when we get to that new normal of business travel.”

Bastian noted that in his more than 20-year career dealing with crises, business travel has always come back stronger than anticipated despite what critics say.

“I think we are going to see that same consumer behavior, it will undoubtedly be different, but I think it’s going to come stronger than most of the pundits’ view,” he said.


United CEO Scott Kirby on the other hand, warned that while demand for corporate flights should start to recover by late 2021 or early 2022, a full return to normal levels for the airline’s business travel isn’t likely until 2024.

“I think it will come back to normal,” Kirby said on the earnings call. “I’ve been fond of saying the first time someone loses a sale to a competitor who showed up in person is the last time they try to make a sales call on Zoom.”

“Business travel is incredibly important, really important,” he added. “It was our bread and butter before I think it will be our bread and butter in the future.”

Still, Kirby is confident that United will make “a

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