Sabre reported its best quarter of recovery since the Covid-19 pandemic began, with net air bookings nearing 60 percent of 2019 levels by the end of the third quarter, company executives said in an earnings call.
For the full quarter, total global bookings through Sabre hit 80 million, which is 57 percent of the levels in 2019. Sabre chair and CEO Sean Menke in an earnings call said the quarter started out slowly as airlines faced operational challenges, with net air bookings at 50 percent of 2019 levels in July, but they “improved considerably” after that, Menke said. In August, net air bookings hit 58 percent, and that further improved to 59 percent in September.
The recovery has continued into October, Menke said. Sabre projects fourth-quarter bookings recovery will be in the low 60s percent range. Sabre president Kurt Ekert added that Sabre would see an acceleration of bookings due to its new agreement with BCD Travel beginning in the fourth quarter and into next year, alongside its previous agreements with American Express Global Business Travel and online travel agency Hopper.
Despite growing concerns for the overall economy, Menke said Sabre doesn’t “see evidence of a slowdown in either corporate or leisure demand” and that “fares globally remain strong.” The company reported that airfares booked through Sabre started a “steep positive slope” in 2021, and this year, average fares are about $100 higher, or more than 30 percent, than the 2019 baseline.
Sabre reported $431 million in distribution revenue for the quarter, up 76 percent year over year. Total travel solutions revenue was up 55 percent year over year to $604 million, and total consolidated revenue for the quarter was $663 million, up 50 percent year over year.
Sabre’s net loss for the third quarter was $140.7 million, an improvement from the $240.6 million net loss in the third quarter of 2021.