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American Airlines reports Q1 loss, optimistic on vaccines

Thursday, April 22, 2021

NEW YORK, USA (AFP) – American Airlines reported another quarterly loss Thursday as COVID-19 continued to depress travel, but expressed optimism at an industry recovery with vaccinations becoming more widespread.

The big US carrier's first-quarter results were comparable to those of rival carriers Delta Air Lines and United Airlines, who also reported losses and signalled the second quarter would be unprofitable as business and international travel levels remain extremely low.

"The pandemic is far from over," American's CEO Doug Parker and President Robert Isom said in a letter to employees. "But as our world makes daily strides in COVID-19 vaccination efforts, customers are returning to travel and there is no doubt the pace of the recovery is accelerating."

American reported a loss of $1.3 billion in the first quarter, compared with a shortfall of $2.2 billion in the year-ago period.

Revenues fell 52.9 percent from the year-ago period to $4 billion.

Like other carriers, American has reduced headcount through early retirement programmes, and deferred new aircraft deliveries to save money and reduce its daily cash burn.

American reached agreements with Boeing to defer receiving some new 787 and 737 planes. On the 737 MAX, American now expects 18 new aircraft deliveries to occur in 2023 and 2024 instead of 2021 and 2022.

American projected that second-quarter capacity would be down 20 to 25 percent compared to the 2019 period and that revenue would be off 40 per cent.