News: U.S. airlines see ‘glimmers of hope’ as bookings improve.
(Reuters) – U.S. airlines said Monday that leisure bookings are rising, offering some of the first concrete signs that the worst for the sector may be almost over since the coronavirus pandemic groundflight ended a year ago.
Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines, and JetBlue Airways each said that first quarter revenue would decrease at the lower end or less than previously projected as vaccine rollouts accelerate and more people plan vacations or visits to friends and relatives
At a JP Morgan conference, Delta CEO Ed Bastian said there were “real glimmers of hope”.
Bastian said he was “cautiously optimistic” that the airline would stop its cash burning this spring and use cash on aircraft purchases in the second quarter.
According to the Transportation Security Administration, more than 1.3 million passengers were screened at US airports on Friday and Sunday. This is the highest number since the pandemic flight in 2020.
Delta expects the first-quarter revenue decline to be at the lower end of its forecast for a 60% to 65% decline from the year-ago quarter before the pandemic broke out.
Southwest forecast less cash burn for the first quarter on Monday and less decline in operating income for February and March than previously forecast.
JetBlue also forecast a slower sales decline in the first quarter, forecasting a decline between 61% and 64% compared to the same period last year. JetBlue had previously forecast a 65% to 70% decline in sales.
Reporting by Tracy Rucinski, editing by Louise Heavens and Paul Simao
Original Source © Reuters