American Airlines posts record annual loss on pandemic pain

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(Reuters) – 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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