Coronavirus: US airlines burn $10 billion a month as traffic plummets

Coronavirus: US airlines burn $10 billion a month as traffic plummets

US airlines are collectively burning more than $10 billion in cash per month and averaging fewer than two dozen passengers per domestic flight, industry trade group Airlines for America said in prepared testimony seen by Reuters ahead of a US Senate hearing on Wednesday.

Even after grounding more than 3,000 aircraft, or nearly 50 percent of the active US fleet, the group said its member carriers, which include the four largest US airlines, are averaging just 17 passengers per domestic flight and 29 passengers per international flight.

“The US airline industry will emerge from this crisis a mere shadow of what it was just three short months ago,” the group’s chief executive, Nicholas Calio, will say, according to his prepared testimony.

American Airlines passenger planes crowd a runway where they are parked due to flight reductions at Tulsa International Airport in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on March 23, 2020. (Reuters) American Airlines passenger planes crowd a runway where they are parked due to flight reductions at Tulsa International Airport in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on March 23, 2020. (Reuters)

Net booked passengers have fallen by nearly 100 percent year-on-year, it said, and warned that if air carriers were to refund all tickets, including those purchased under the condition of being nonrefundable or those canceled by a passenger instead of the carrier, “this will result in negative cash balances that will lead to bankruptcy.”

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