WASHINGTON (dpa-AFX) - Southwest Airlines Co. (LUV) said it continues to experience significant negative impacts to passenger demand and bookings due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The company continues to expect its first quarter 2021 capacity to decrease about 35 percent, year-over-year, and decrease about 38 percent compared with first quarter 2019. The company will soon be adjusting its published flight schedule for May 2021, and currently expects May 2021 capacity to increase about 118 percent, year-over-year, and decrease about 21 percent as compared with May 2019.
Passenger demand and operating revenues performed in-line with the Company's expectations in February 2021. The company has continued to experience an improvement in leisure passenger bookings with beach and other nature-inspired destinations continuing to outperform other regions, the company said.
March and April 2021 operating revenues are currently expected to improve compared with the company's previous estimations primarily due to an increase in passenger traffic and fare expectations.
The company has recently experienced an increase in bookings farther out in the booking curve, but currently has limited visibility to bookings beyond May 2021. Business travel continues to significantly lag leisure travel demand.
The company continues to expect first quarter 2021 operating expenses, excluding fuel and oil expense and special items, to decrease in the range of 15 to 20 percent, year-over-year.
The company noted that it recently received the remaining extended payroll support proceeds of about $864 million under the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, for a total of $1.7 billion under this program. As of March 11, 2021, the Company had cash and short-term investments of approximately $14.4 billion, well in excess of debt outstanding.
Copyright RTT News/dpa-AFX
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