American Airlines posts record annual loss on pandemic pain

FILE - In this May 24, 2019, file photo, grounded Boeing 737 Max jets belonging to American Airlines are stored at Tulsa International Airport in Tulsa, Okla. American Airlines said Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020, it is negotiating with Boeing over compensation for the airline's grounded planes and will share some of the proceeds with its employees. (Tom Gilbert/Tulsa World via AP, File)

American Airlines Group Inc reported an $8.9 billion annual loss on Thursday, its biggest on record, as travel restrictions and lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic ravaged the aviation industry in 2020.

Airlines are hoping that sentiment will improve this year as COVID-19 vaccines are more widely distributed. However, new strains of the virus have triggered tighter rules for international travel in countries including the United States.

The company posted a net loss of $2.18 billion, or $3.81 per share, for the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, compared with a profit of $414 million, or 95 cents per share, a year earlier.

The company said its cash burn rate was about $30 million a day in the quarter.

“As we look to the year ahead, 2021 will be a year of recovery,” Chief Executive Dough Parker said in a statement.

On an adjusted basis, the company lost $3.86 per share. Total operating revenue fell to $4.03 billion from $11.31 billion.

American Airlines ended the fourth quarter with about $14.3 billion in available liquidity.

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