American Airlines bullish on holidays after Delta variant hit

American Airlines was profitable in July, but said it suffered losses in August and September due to the Delta variant of Covid-19. — AFP pic
American Airlines was profitable in July, but said it suffered losses in August and September due to the Delta variant of Covid-19. — AFP pic

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NEW YORK, Oct 21 — American Airlines said today that the latest surge in Covid-19 hit profitability in the latest quarter, but that it was bullish on the upcoming holiday season.

The big US carrier enjoyed a profitable July before the spread of the Delta variant pushed the company into the red in both August and September, American executives said in a letter to employees.

The company reported US$169 million in profits in the third quarter, but the bottom line would have been a loss without an infusion of US funds authorised by Congress for carriers to preserve airline jobs.

Revenues were US$9 billion, more than double the year ago-levels, but about 25 per cent below those in the equivalent period of 2019.

“The American Airlines team continues to demonstrate its resilience and ability to execute, enabling us to deliver our best quarter since the pandemic began as measured by pre-tax financial results,” said Chief Executive Doug Parker.

“While the rise of the Covid-19 Delta variant delayed some of our revenue recovery, it has not stopped our progress.”

American said it is gearing up for “robust” demand during the holiday season, planning for fourth-quarter capacity to be down between 11 to 13 per cent compared with the 2019 quarter.

That is a higher level of utilisation than at rivals United Airlines and Delta Air Lines, which said they expected capacity down 23 per cent and 20 per cent compared with the 2019 period.

American Airlines shares rose 1.0 per cent to US$19.72 in pre-market trading. — AFP

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