Fears of the U.S. economy falling into a recession are significantly misguided, United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz told CNBC’s Jim Cramer on Thursday.
“I’ve never seen a wider gap between what is being discussed and trying to be pushed and the facts and the figures that we see,” Munoz told the “Mad Money” host, who asked if he thought a recession was lurking.
“The answer is no,” Munoz said.
Concerns that the U.S. and the world economy could sink into a recession have been commonplace for much of the year, brought on, in part, by the U.S.-China trade weighing on global growth.
They arguably reached a fever pitch in August, when the yield curve — considered by some a reliable recession indicator — hit levels not seen since 2007. It is no longer inverted, and sentiment has generally improved as the Federal Reserve cut rates and stocks reached record highs in recent weeks.
United is always monitoring data and trends, in order to be prepared for any downturn, Munoz noted, “but we’re not seeing it.”
Conversely, United is seeing strong demand heading into the holiday season, Munoz said.
“December is very strong,” he said. “So it’s nice to be there. And we don’t take it for granted.”
Shares of United closed at $90.97 on Thursday, down .8% for the session. In what has been a tough year for many airlines with the grounding of Boeing‘s 737 Max jet following two fatal crashes, United is up 8% year to date.
The Chicago-based airline announced last week that its fleet of 737 Max planes will remain grounded into early March.
Munoz told Cramer that United is handling the 737 Max situation with intense care and will implement its own process to quell safety concerns once regulators clear the planes to fly.
Munoz has previously said he will be on United’s first flight with the 737 Max and that passengers will be notified when they purchase a ticket if their plane is scheduled to be a Max. They will be able to switch at no cost if they don’t feel comfortable.
“It’s going to be a safe aircraft, but again it’s not our view. Regulators have to weigh in on that,” Munoz said.