American Airlines posts $2.1 billion net loss in second quarter

Key Points
  • American Airlines swings to a quarterly loss as the coronavirus depressed demand, but it slashed its cash burn.
  • "We remain confident we will emerge from this crisis more agile and more efficient than ever before," CEO Doug Parker said.

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Jets are parked on runway 28 at the Pittsburgh International Airport on March 27, 2020 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Jeff Swensen | Getty Imageas

American Airlines on Thursday posted a net loss of $2.1 billion in the second quarter, the latest carrier to outline the financial damage to travel demand from the coronavirus pandemic.

Revenue dropped more than 86% in the quarter to $1.6 billion from close to $12 billion a year earlier.

The stock rose 0.5% in premarket trading.

American has restored more capacity than some of its large competitors like Delta or United as it aimed to capitalize on an uptick in air travel demand that bottomed in April.

The Fort Worth, Texas-based airline did slash its daily cash burn rate from $100 million a day in April to $30 million a day in June after it cut flights and idled planes and thousands of employees took voluntary time off. 

"We have moved swiftly to improve our liquidity, conserve cash and ensure customers are safe when they travel," CEO Doug Parker said. "There is much uncertainty ahead, but we remain confident we will emerge from this crisis more agile and more efficient than ever before."

American and other airline executives are warning that demand has softened due to a spike in coronavirus cases and travel restrictions abroad and quarantine orders. American said it expects its capacity in the third quarter to be down 60% from last year.

The pandemic has been particularly painful for airlines because a resurgence in cases comes during what is normally the most lucrative time of year, the peak summer travel season.

"The current environment is more unpredictable and more volatile than anything we ever could have imagined," Parker and the airline's president Robert Isom, said in an employee note.

On an adjusted per-share basis, American posted a loss of $7.82, slightly more than analysts were expecting.

American Airlines' executives will hold an analyst call at 8:30 a.m. EDT.

Also Thursday, Southwest Airlines said it lost $915 million in the second quarter compared with $741 million in net income a year earlier. It also warned that travel demand will likely remain depressed until there's a vaccine or treatment for the coronavirus.

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