United announced their sixth consecutive quarterly loss after the market closed on Tuesday. But the airline’s losses are diminishing, and the carrier said bookings have continued to improve, even for hard-hit segments like business travel and long-haul international travel.
United CEO Scott Kirby told CNBC’s Squawk Box on Wednesday that the fast-spreading delta variant of Covid-19 had not affected bookings, echoing similar comments from the CEO of Delta Air Lines last week.
Kirby said the United States should lift the entry ban for most non-U.S. Citizens from the U.K. and the European Union, restrictions in place since March 2020.
“We’re not going to stop the Delta variant from coming to the United States by closing these borders because it’s already there,” Kirby said.
United and other airlines and travel agencies have repeatedly pressured the Biden administration to lift restrictions, but the peak travel season has passed without any change from the United States. However, several European countries like Greece, Spain and Italy have reopened their borders to visitors, including from the United States.
Kirby said there was a “human element” to the ban. “There are families who have not seen each other for 18 months,” he said.
A White House spokesperson told CNBC that government officials from the US, UK, EU, Mexico and Canada continue to meet on how to reopen travel, but no did not say if the authorities were close to a decision.
On Monday, the State Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention raised their warnings on travel to the UK to the highest level, telling citizens to avoid travel there.
Shares of other airlines were also higher on Wednesday, continuing their rally after falling sharply on Monday.
American Airlines and Southwest Airlines, which publish their quarterly results before the market opens on Thursday, rose more than 2% and 3% respectively. And Delta grew by more than 2%.