Southwest reveals unprecedented decline in demand for travel

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Airlines has reported a first quarter net loss of $94 million, or $0.18 per diluted share.

First quarter operating revenue was $4.2 billion, down 17.8 per cent year-over-year.

Gary Kelly, chief executive of Southwest, stated: “This is an time for our nation and the airline industry.

“In late February, we began experiencing a precipitous drop in passenger and bookings due to the novel coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic, resulting in a first quarter 2020 net loss.

“The United States economy has been at a standstill, and the current outlook for second quarter 2020 indicates no material improvement in air trends.

“Trip cancellations remain at unprecedented levels, though they have receded from their peak in March.”

The carrier said it had continued to experience weak passenger demand and bookings in April, and operating revenues are currently estimated to decrease, year-over-year, in the range of 90 to 95 per cent.

In response, capacity has been cut by around 60 per cent in April, Southwest said.

For May, operating revenues are also currently estimated to decrease, year-over-year, in the range of 90 to 95 per cent; capacity is estimated to decrease in the range of 60 to 70 per cent, year-over-year; and load factor is estimated to be in the range of five-to-ten per cent.

“As such, we have significantly reduced our published flight schedules through July,” said Kelly.

Southwest added it currently did not expect the Boeing 737 Max to return to service until at least the end of October.

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