United says well-placed for post-virus rebound

United Airlines expects to be a big winner of post-pandemic international travel, it said on Thursday.

As other airlines retire large planes from their fleets or retreat from long-haul markets, Chicago-based United has been turning up the heat and lobbying the new U.S administration to reopen borders for people who test negative for COVID-19 before travel, or have been vaccinated.

The largest U.S operator of international flights has taken a battering during the pandemic that brought international travel to a screeching halt.

But U.S President Joe Biden has signaled he plans to maintain a ban on most travelers from Europe and Brazil, as well as enforcing a quarantine for all international air passengers who touch down on U.S soil.

Biden has moved swiftly to ramp up testing, vaccinations and enforce mask-wearing measures that are key to fighting the pandemic and restore confidence to air travel.

And when more planes do start taking to the skies again, passengers can expect fewer flight options.

One of those changes may be fewer large business-class cabins on widebody aircraft.

As airlines in Europe trim long haul jets, such as Norwegian Air, that announced last week if will end its transatlantic flights,

United has been revamping its business-class product and kept its fleet largely intact.

United Chief Executive said it could expect travel demand to snap back to around 90 percent of 2019 levels, and expects profit margins in 2023.