American Airlines (A1G) (AAL) has reported a yearly loss of $2 billion citing the industry’s struggle to recover from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Following a year of uncertainty, the airline is focused on returning to profitability in 2022.
“Over the past year, we have experienced periods of high travel demand countered by periods of decreased demand due to new COVID-19 variants,” said American’s Chairman and CEO Doug Parker.
During the fourth quarter of 2021, a lucrative period for carriers across the world, the airline lost $931 million. The negative financial result was largely attributed to the Omicron variant of COVID-19, which was first discovered in late November 2021.
“This volatility has created the most challenging planning environment in the history of commercial aviation,” Parker added.
Despite a year of losses, the airline ended 2021 with $15.8 billion in liquidity, a record for the company. American Airlines (A1G) (AAL) also retired some of its older planes, replacing these with new and more efficient aircraft.
Looking ahead, American “will continue to match its forward capacity with observed bookings trends”. However, based on the current situation, the carrier anticipates its Q1 capacity to be down approximately 8% to 10% compared to the first quarter of 2019.
“American expects its first-quarter total revenue to be down approximately 20% to 22% versus the first quarter of 2019,” according to the airline’s statement.
Isom stated: “Looking forward, our focus in 2022 will be to continue running a reliable airline, returning to profitability, and delivering on our long-term plan to deleverage the balance sheet.”