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American Airlines sustains first-quarter loss of $1.25 billion
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American Airlines sustains first-quarter loss of $1.25 billion

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American Airlines

A motorized vehicle passes parked American Airlines jets at the Tech-Ops Tulsa maintenance facility. The airline posted a $1.25 million loss in the first quarter of this year, but officials say increasing travel is brightening the company’s prospects.

American Airlines on Thursday reported a first-quarter loss of $1.25 billion, adding that revenue for the quarter was down $4 billion, or 53%, over the same period a year ago.

The Fort Worth, Texas-based airline employs about 5,200 people at Tech Ops-Tulsa, its largest maintenance base.

“We are incredibly proud of the American Airlines team for their continued care of our customers and each other,” American Chairman and CEO Doug Parker said in a statement. “Our team has shown up every day throughout the pandemic and served more customers than any other airline. That focus has served as our inspiration and positions us well as even more customers return to the skies.

“Looking forward, with the momentum underway from the first quarter, we see signs of continued recovery in demand. We remain confident the network enhancements, customer-focused improvements and efficiency measures we’ve put into place will ensure American is well-positioned for the recovery.”

First-quarter losses per diluted share were $1.97. Adjusted for non-recurring gains, losses were $4.32. For the first quarter of 2020, the airline reported a loss of $2.24 billion, or $5.26 per share, a year earlier.

The airline raised $10 billion through debt offering backed by the AAdvantage program and used a portion of the proceeds to prepay in full the secured loan from the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

American ended the first quarter with approximately $17.3 billion of total available liquidity and expects to end the second quarter with about $19.5 billion in total available liquidity.

The airline also canceled plans to furlough 13,000 workers nationwide in February following the passage of the COVID-19 relief package that includes an extension of the Payroll Support Program (PSP). The move saved about 4,000 jobs in Tulsa.

The uptick in vaccinations rates is increasing the demand for travel, which dropped about 60% nationally in 2020.

“We continue to passionately pursue efficiencies that will position us well not just in the recovery but for years to come,” Parker and American President Robert Isom wrote in a letter to employees. “In the first quarter, we completed the largest financing in airline history — a $10 billion deal secured by the most valuable loyalty program in the world, the AAdvantage program.

“We fully paid down revolving credit facilities, which are essentially our company credit cards and, excluding debt principal and cash severance payments, we were cash-positive in the month of March. That is the first such month since the beginning of the pandemic.”

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