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Exclusive: Airfares are finally starting to cool as peak summer travel season fades. Now what? – TalkOfNews.com

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Airfares are finally starting to cool as peak summer travel season fades. Now what?

#Airfares #finally #starting #cool #peak #summer #travel #season #fades

Passengers are seen at the Delta Air Lines check-in counters at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport ahead of the Fourth of July holiday in Atlanta, Georgia, July 1, 2022.

Elijah Nouvelage | Reuters

Flights, believe it or not, are getting cheaper.

Airfares fell a seasonally-adjusted 1.8% from May to June, according to the latest U.S. inflation data, published last week. Fares were one of the few categories to decline at a time when consumer prices rose at the fastest clip in more than four decades.

The surge in spring and summer travel — even at sky-high prices — has been a boon to airlines, driving revenue above 2019 levels even as airlines fly less than they did before the pandemic, according to recent reports from major carriers like Delta Air Lines and American Airlines.

Now the question is: How resilient will demand be after the summer peak as carriers and travelers alike grapple with persistent inflation and worries about an economic slowdown?

CEOs from Delta to JPMorgan last week said consumers continue to spend voraciously on travel. But rising costs can affect household vacation budgets and companies’ appetite to send employees out on business trips.

A jump in costs is already weighing on airlines’ bottom lines and high fares are forcing some travelers to change their plans.

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Ben Merens, a 62-year-old communications consultant, said he and his wife called off their summer vacation plans because of a family emergency that happened just before Fourth of July weekend.

The couple had their sights set on a trip to either Denver or Seattle, but aren’t going after a death in the family meant last-minute tickets from their home in Milwaukee to New York City to attend the funeral — which Merens said were about $980 apiece.

“The price is exorbitant,” Merens said before their return flight from New York’s LaGuardia Airport.

Less flying, more revenue

Ticket prices often dip when the peak summer travel season fades — children return to school and families wrap up vacations, though business travel often ramps back up. Airlines also adjust capacity for lower-demand periods so they aren’t flooding the market with seats they would need to offer at low fares to fill.

U.S. roundtrip flights as of July 14 averaged $375, down from a May peak of $413 but still up 13% from 2019, according to fare-tracker Hopper.

Airlines have nonetheless been upbeat about future sales, citing the pent-up desire to travel from both businesses and leisure travelers.

“People have not had access to our product for the better part of two years,” Delta CEO Ed Bastian said during the company’s quarterly earnings call last week. “We’re not going to satisfy … that thirst, in a space of a busy summer period.”

Delta posted a $735 million profit in the second quarter on $13.82 billion in revenue, a 10% sales increase from the same period of 2019. The airline said domestic corporate-travel sales, a laggard for much of the industry’s recovery, surged to 80% of 2019 levels.

Delta is projecting more muted revenue growth for the third-quarter, though. The carrier expects revenue to increase by 1% to 5% over 2019 levels, and said it will limit its schedule growth through year-end — a measure that could in turn keep fares elevated if travelers’ fierce demand for seats continues.

“We also acknowledge that our crystal ball is only about three to four months right now and it doesn’t go all the way as far as people would like us to think,” Bastian said. “But everything we see tells us that we’ve got to run.”

American and United Airlines have also been upbeat and are due to report second-quarter results and provide outlooks to investors on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively. American on Monday forecast second-quarter revenue growth of 22.5% over 2019 for the three months ended June 30, up from its previous estimate for an increase of 20%, on a slightly smaller schedule.

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Smoothing operations

Still, airlines will have to navigate cracks in the red-hot job market and concerns about economic weakness as the peak travel season fades.

“Come the fall, the impact of cost inflation on consumers’ and corporate travelers’ discretionary income and budgets could lead to softening aggregate demand for air travel,” wrote Moody’s Investors Service transportation analyst Jonathan Root last month. “However, the current capacity constraints would protect the airlines from having too much capacity, should this occur.”

U.S. airlines have largely trimmed schedules after biting off more they could chew this spring and summer. Many carriers sold schedules to passengers only to curb flying later as staffing shortages and other challenges prompted them to dial back.

Delta, American, United, JetBlue Airways, Spirit Airlines and Alaska Airlines each capped flying.

The seasonal decline in flights could help airlines improve operations and offer more breathing room to train their thousands of new workers without the hoards of summer.

Delta’s Bastian said the carrier has hired 18,000 people since the start of 2021, which is around the number it lost during the pandemic when it urged staff to take buyouts.

“While we have over 95% of the employees needed to fully restore capacity, we have thousands in some phase of hiring and training process,” Bastian said on the company’s quarterly call.

Southwest Airlines, for its part, said this week it hired 10,000 people since January to bring its employee base to 61,000, more than during 2019.

Elizabeth Bryant, Southwest’s senior vice president of people, learning and development, added “hiring and training will remain a focus throughout 2022.”

Smoother operations could ease traveler concerns over delays and disruptions and keep demand high. But in the interim, flying less means higher costs, which are often passed along to consumers.

“We are largely carrying the full cost of the airline with only 85% of our flying restored,” Bastian said.

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With demand strong, airlines can still charge relatively high fares — the reverse is true, which is why there were so many bargains early in the pandemic when most potential travelers stayed home.

In addition, a decline in consumer spending or a downturn in the labor market could drive fares and airline revenue lower.

“Right now people just have money to burn,” said Adam Thompson, founder of Lagniappe Aviation, a consulting firm. “Once people no longer have money to burn, you have to convince them they want to buy your product.”

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Exclusive: Rezonate raises $8.7M and launches its cloud identity protection platform out of stealth – TalkOfNews.com

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Rezonate raises $8.7M and launches its cloud identity protection platform out of stealth

#Rezonate #raises #87M #launches #cloud #identity #protection #platform #stealth

Rezonate, a Boston- and Tel Aviv-based startup that offers an agent-less cloud identity protection platform that aims to help DevOps teams minimize attackers’ opportunities to breach cloud identity and access, is coming out of stealth today and announcing an $8.7 million seed funding round, led by State of Mind Ventures and Flybridge, with participation from toDay Ventures, Merlin Ventures and a number of angel investors.

Founded in January 2022, Rezonate is part of a group of modern identity and access management (IAM) startups that aim to modernize the current state of affairs in this space, which is struggling to meet the demands of modern cloud infrastructure systems. This shift is creating new attack surfaces, especially as enterprises move to the cloud — and more dynamic infrastructure systems — at an ever-increasing rate. The number of security breaches stemming from issues with identity and access management is already on the rise. Indeed, Gartner expects that by 2023, “75% of security failures will result from inadequate management of identities, access, and privileges.”

Image Credits: Rezonate

Co-founder and CEO Roy Akerman was previously the head of the Israeli Cyberdefense Operations, while Rezonate co-founder and CTO Ori Amiga previously led R&D for this unit. Both received the Medal of Honor for their contributions to Israel’s National Security.

“The rapidly-changing cloudscape together with the proliferation of human and machine identities requires a different approach,” said Akerman. “Modern infrastructures require a precise and nimble way to outsmart attackers. One that prioritizes cloud identities and access at its core and is constantly adapting to current dynamics over yesterday’s snapshots and, for the first time, gives defenders and builders the means to act confidently.”

Image Credits: Rezonate

Rezonate promises to discover all of a company’s cloud and identity providers and the corresponding access privileges of its employees. The platform automatically detects security gaps and abnormal access attempts in real time. Rezonate promises that within minutes of deploying its solution, its platform can identify cloud identity and access risks and provide guidance for remediating them, or even automatically remove access and terminate sessions.

At the core of all of this is what Rezonate calls its ‘Identity Storyline,’ which aims to provide DevOps and security teams with a context-rich dashboard that helps them understand the security risk across a company’s cloud estate. With this, users get an easy-to-read dashboard that clearly lays out what kind of access every user has — and where there are potential issues.

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“The fact that in just ten months from our first line of code we already have active customers, solving key gaps daily, affirms the criticality of the cloud identity and access issue. In a cloud world where everything is changing all of the time, DevOps teams need a solution as dynamic and automated as the infrastructure they need to protect is,” said Amiga.

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Exclusive: Building a Prospecting Motion: How to Outreach Like a Pro – TalkOfNews.com

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Building a Prospecting Motion: How to Outreach Like a Pro

#Building #Prospecting #Motion #Outreach #Pro

The core responsibility of business development is to generate a pipeline of new business opportunities. For teams looking to close new customers, this work is indispensable.

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Exclusive: 5 things to know before the stock market opens Tuesday – TalkOfNews.com

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5 things to know before the stock market opens Tuesday

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A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), December 5, 2022.

Brendan McDermid | Reuters

Here are the most important news items that investors need to start their trading day:

1. Rough start

Stocks got off on the wrong foot this week with an ugly selloff Monday as investors weighed strong new economic data that stoked worries of sustained rate hikes from the Federal Reserve. The Dow dropped more than 480 points, while the S&P 500 declined 1.79% and the Nasdaq fell 1.93%. When it meets next week, the Fed’s policy-setting committee is expected to raise its benchmark rate by half a percentage point, which is less than the three-quarter-point hikes of the past few months but still sizable. Smith & Wesson and Stitch Fix earnings are set to hit after the bell Tuesday. Read live market updates here.

2. Salesforce slumps

Bret Taylor, co-chief executive officer of Salesforce.com Inc., right, and Marc Benioff, co-chief executive officer of Salesforce.com Inc., wear rabbit ears during a keynote at the 2022 Dreamforce conference in San Francisco, California, on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022.

Marlena Sloss | Bloomberg | Getty Images

3. Most Ford dealers sign up for EV plan

4. Biden touts Arizona chip investment

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks prior to signing railroad legislation into law, providing a resoluton to avert a nationwide rail shutdown, during a signing ceremony in the Roosevelt Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., December 2, 2022. 

Kevin Lamarque | Reuters

5. Russia ratchets up missile attacks

A building burns after shelling in Bakhmut, Donetsk region, on December 4, 2022, amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Yevhen Titov | Afp | Getty Images

And one more thing …

Actress Kirstie Alley

Noam Galai | Wireimage | Getty Images

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