Bloomberg reports that in April, most U.S. airlines posted their smallest traffic declines in eight months, suggesting the industry may be on the cusp of a turnaround. Collectively, traffic fell 5.1 percent year-over-year in April, compared to declines of 11 percent in February and March. Southwest even posted a 4.1 percent increase in April.
While it may seem strange to celebrate a 5.1 percent decline, the fact is that any positive development is a big deal these days. More importantly, it shows that all the deep discounts we've seen over the last few months may have worked, at least enough to get some people flying again.
Of course, the downside to an industry comeback, from the customer's perspective, would be the likely disappearance of all those low fares. Or as Rick Seaney puts it, "The bottom is near.... These great weekly sales may start to get fewer and farther apart."
Readers, what do you think? Are we about to round a corner? Will cheap fares vanish by summer? Weigh in with a comment below.