(AP) — American Airlines lost $2.24 billion in the first quarter as the coronavirus pandemic triggered a sharp drop in air travel, and the airline is taking steps to survive but as a smaller carrier.
American disclosed Thursday that revenue fell 19% while costs continued to rise even as the virus spread.
The situation facing the airline industry has grown more dire since the first quarter ended, as air travel in the US during April remained down 95% from a year ago, judging by the number of people screened at the nation’s airports.
“Never before has our airline, or our industry, faced such a significant challenge,” Chairman and CEO Doug Parker said.
The Fort Worth, Texas-based airline has cut its flying schedule by 80% in April and May and 70% in June.
It has grounded hundreds of planes, retiring some of them permanently.
Fewer passengers will mean fewer employees.
“We’re going to be somewhat smaller than we intended to be” a year from now, Parker said in an interview.
“Because we’re going to need to be smaller, we’re going to need to do something with the number of employees we have.”
American began the year with more than 133,000 employees.
About 4,500 workers have taken early retirement, and about another 34,000 have accepted partially paid leave for three to 12 months, or fewer hours of work.
Some of those taking leave couldn’t find child care.