American Airlines reports $2.4 billion net loss in third quarter, cuts cash burn

Key Points
  • Airline losses are mounting as the coronavirus keeps a lid on demand.
  • American Airlines started furloughing 19,000 employees earlier this month.

In this article

A passenger aircraft of American Airlines.
Silas Stein | picture alliance via Getty Images

American Airlines on Thursday posted another big quarterly loss as the coronavirus pandemic hurt summer travel demand, but the carrier trimmed its cash burn.

Revenue dropped 73% in the three months ended Sept. 30 to $3.17 billion from $11.9 billion a year earlier. The carrier swung to a $2.4 billion net loss in the third quarter from a $425 million profit a year earlier. Excluding one-time items, American posted a per-share loss of $5.54, better than analysts expected.

American shares were down 1.4% premarket. The company said it has authorized a stock sale to raise up to $1 billion.

Fort Worth-based American began furloughing 19,000 employees this month after the terms of $25 billion federal aid for the struggling airline sector expired. American has been the most vocal about urging lawmakers and the Trump administration to provide another $25 billion in aid for airlines, but so far no deal has been reached.

Here's how American performed compared with what Wall Street expected, based on average estimates compiled by Refinitiv:

  • Adjusted results: a loss of $5.54 versus an expected loss of $5.86.
  • Revenue: $3.17 billion versus $2.81 billion expected.

American trimmed its cash burn to about $44 million a day in the third quarter from $58 million in the previous three-month period. It expects that to go down to $25 million to $30 million a day in the fourth quarter. The airline said it will defer deliveries of 18 Boeing 737 Max planes, taking them as late as 2024.

Also Thursday, Southwest Airlines on posted its biggest quarterly loss ever but also cut its cash burn.