Air travel demand has hit an all-time low, with airlines like American seeing a 90 percent drop in revenue. Airline executives have stated the coronavirus pandemic has had an even bigger impact on the industry than the September 11 terror attacks.
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“It certainly feels like we’re at the bottom,” American Airlines CEO Doug Parker told CNBC. “Our revenues are down 90 percent on a year-over-year basis and they’ve been that way now for a few weeks. The real question is how long you stay at the bottom and when do we begin to recover. I don’t think I know that better than anybody else.”
To stay afloat, major airlines including America, Delta Southwest and JetBlue agreed on Tuesday to share $25 billion in government grants and low-interest loans.
While Parker and other airline executives are not sure when travel will resume, they have seen an increase in booking for more than three months away and reservations in the fourth quarter. Additionally, American Airlines continues to plan for the future, such as not deferring new aircraft orders such as the Boeing 737 Max and retiring aircraft like Boeing 757s and 767s.
“There are indications that the world is ready to start traveling again but they’re very preliminary and it’s certainly not happening today,” Parker said. “Whenever people are prepared to start traveling again our team’s going to be in place and ready to take care of them.”
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