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Airlines Anxiously Await Road Warrior Return to Office, Air

  • Industry looking to leisure travelers to help fill the gap
  • Some forecasts don’t see business demand back until 2024
Southwest Airlines Co. Boeing 737 passenger jets in Chicago, Illinois.

Southwest Airlines Co. Boeing 737 passenger jets in Chicago, Illinois.

Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg
Updated on

Two years into the pandemic and the airline industry remains on standby for the return of business travelers.

Expectations that expense account-wielding road warriors would follow on the heels of leisure travelers have yet to materialize, and the outlook remains hazy with the spread of the latest coronavirus variant. That’s kept carriers’ profits in check and raised questions over whether the change is just a cyclical blip or a structural deviation.