Sabre Sees ‘Stronger’ Recovery in Months Ahead

While corporate and international travel recovered “nicely” during the second quarter, the recovery rate has begun to slow down in recent weeks—which could be a temporary slowdown, Saber CEO Sean Menke said Tuesday during the company’s earnings call.

Global bookings through Saber in the second quarter totaled 81 million, 57 percent of 2019 levels, Saber reported. Net air bookings improved against 2019 comparisons throughout the quarter—starting at 52 percent of 2019 levels in April and rising to 56 percent in May and 60 percent in June.

The second quarter “showed the strongest sequential quarterly bookings improvement since the pandemic recovery started in June 2020,” Menke said, with Latin America the most recovered region and the Asia-Pacific region the most lagging.

Late in the quarter and continuing into July, the recovery rate has moderated as a result of demand outpacing the ability of airlines and airports to handle passenger volumes, particularly in Europe, Menke said. The subsequent delays, cancellations and other service issues have “constrained near-term net new bookings as passengers seeking to avoid these issues,” Menke said.

Even so, Menke said the outlook for long-term recovery remains positive, with airlines “aggressively” hiring pilots and other staff to improve operations. With capacity currently below demand, airlines are buoyed by higher airfares to help offset the costs of the recovery, he said.

“Forward air bookings for travel in August, and more specifically in September and October, are tracking similar to what we experienced in stronger recovery months,” Menke said. “If these continue trends, we would assume passengers are currently looking beyond the near-term operational issues and that any recessionary pressure has not yet impacted future travel.”

Saber reported second-quarter consolidated revenues of $658 million, up from $420 million in the second quarter of 2021. Its net loss for the quarter was $193 million, an improvement from the net loss of $251 million in the second quarter of 2021.

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