Sabre is seeing net air bookings slowly increase, but travel's recovery from the coronavirus pandemic will likely take the form of a long, winding road, said Roshan Mendis, executive vice president and chief commercial officer.

Since the pandemic began, "we have been slowly but surely climbing our way out," Mendis said on a media call Tuesday. The company's recovery hasn't been as fast as expected, but each month has been better than the month prior, he said.

Related report: Sabre reports revenue loss of $312M, says IT business revenue exceeds distribution

Mendis pointed to net air bookings. In the second quarter of 2020, they declined 110% globally. That number has been narrowing steadily, registering a 94% decline in July, 88% in August, 82% in September and an 80% decline in October.

The North American market is showing the most resilience, thanks to a large amount of domestic travel, Mendis said. That is also the market where Sabre has its largest GDS footprint.

"I said before that the travel business is resilient, and of course it is," Mendis said. "But let's also recognize that we haven't seen a crisis of this magnitude as far as the data goes. So the recovery, of course, will be very different than the recoveries we have seen in the past, as well. We expect it to be a winding and long road dotted with unstable conditions."

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