Nearly Grounded By The Pandemic, Airlines Build Cash Reserves

Texas-based American and Southwest are among the carriers who have borrowed money and used government grants to stay afloat.

By Shelly BrisbinAugust 17, 2020 10:22 am,

Airlines are among the big companies most affected by the pandemic, with business and leisure travel brought nearly to a standstill. That includes Texas-based American Airlines and Southwest Airlines, both of which reported huge losses in the most recent quarter, which corresponded with increases in COVID-19 cases and related lockdowns. Hoping to stem the tide of red ink, carriers are adopting a new strategy – they’re hoarding cash

Andrew Hawkins is a senior reporter for the tech news site, The Verge. He and Sean O’Kane have been co-reporting on this story.  Hawkins told Texas Standard that all three major air carriers – Delta, United and American – reported losses totaling $10 billion last quarter. 

Smaller carriers, including Southwest, lost money too, as a result of the pandemic. 

“If you look a little bit deeper, you’ll find [airlines are] also taking in a lot of money, both through direct payments from the Coronavirus Relief and Economic Securities Act… as well as taking loans from some of the big banks,” Hawkins said.

What you’ll hear in this segment:

– How much money airline are taking in through borrowing and government grants

– What airlines plan to do with the cash infusions

– How long airlines may have to wait for business to improve