With air travel still down from pre-pandemic levels, American Airlines took more losses in the first quarter of 2021.
Revenues of $4 billion were down 53% year-over-year and 62% from the same three months in 2019, leading to a net loss of $1.3 billion.
American Chairman and CEO Doug Parker said during an investor call this week another round of federal virus relief is helping to ease the blow. It let the airline cancel layoffs announced earlier this year that could have affected around 400 workers at its Tulsa maintenance base.
"We were very happy to tell 13,000 team members they could tear up their WARN notices following the passage of the COVID-19 relief package that included an extension of the payroll support program," Parker said.
American's Tulsa maintenance base has roughly 5,200 workers.
In addition to the new federal relief, March was American’s first cash-positive month during the pandemic, a nationwide push for COVID vaccinations increased demand for travel and the airline used its loyalty program to take out $10 billion in bonds to prepay a treasury department loan.
"We’re starting to see light at the end of this very dark tunnel, and we’re on a path that has us well-positioned as demand for air travel returns," Parker said.
American is starting to hire pilots in anticipation of air travel picking up later this year.