A member of a ground crew walks past American Airlines planes parked at the gate during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak at Ronald Reagan National Airport in Washington, April 5, 2020.

Joshua Roberts | Reuters

American Airlines lost more than $2.2 billion in the first three months of the year — its biggest quarterly loss since 2008 —as the coronavirus pandemic drove down demand for air travel.

American’s revenue dropped nearly 20% from a year earlier to $8.52 billion, slightly below analyst estimates. Shares were up 0.4% in premarket trading.

American, like other airlines is facing a sharp decline in passengers because of coronavirus. U.S. airline travel volumes dropped about 95% in recent weeks from a year earlier as travelers stay home.

The air travel slump is a sharp turnaround for the industry that boasted its 10th straight year of profits in 2019 and had prepared for another uptick in travel demand this year.

“Never before has our airline, or our industry, faced such a significant challenge,” American’s CEO Doug Parker said in an earnings release.

American lost $2.65 per share on an adjusted basis. The airline took $744 million in fleet impairment charges as it retires aircraft like its Boeing 757s and 767s ahead of schedule as travel demand drops. It also reported a one-time expense of $218 million for a new contract with aircraft and fleet maintenance workers.

American Airlines executives will hold an 8:30 a.m. call to detail results and its outlook.

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