Alaska Airlines CEO Ben Minicucci tells NBC News’ Lester Holt that leisure bookings are “back to pre-pandemic levels”

Alaska Airlines CEO Ben Minicucci tells NBC News’ Lester Holt that leisure bookings are “back to pre-pandemic levels,” explaining “With the pace of vaccinations increasing, we saw a significant step change in March. We actually for the first time achieved positive cash flow in March after 12 months of burning cash and so things are looking more optimistic.”

He added, “We believe that on the domestic leisure side, we’re pretty much 100% and for to get us back to 2019 levels, we’re forecasting to be back there by the summer of 2022.”

He also said it would be easier for the airline if the government eventually dropped the mask requirement on airplanes, explaining, “I think as vaccinations increase, I think we’ve proven scientifically that the environment onboard the aircraft is safe with HEPA filters and the way the air circulates on the airplane…I’m hoping that the government does relax that policy. But for now, it is a federally mandated requirement. And we’ll comply with that.

The interview airs tonight on NBC Nightly News with Lester Hot at 6:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. CT. Holt will anchor tonight’s broadcast from Seattle, the fourth day of the newscast’s “Across America” series.  For more on “Across America”.

Credit: Tonight on NBC Nightly News.