As summer turned into fall last year, Alaska Air Group’s Battle to Deal with the COVID-19 aviation recession seemed to have turned into a corner — until November’s tide of new coronavirus infections and business constraints hit.
Before that, both the numbers of Passengers carried and Alaska’s onward ticket bookings”were peaks for the pandemic stage, and each month was improving in the past,” said Ben Minicucci, Alaska’s president.
Subsequently, as state and local Closures and travel warnings came into effect,”that trend stalled in the fourth quarter,” explained Minicucci, who would become CEO on March 1.
Yet even as Minicucci discussed that the one-fifth quarter over a teleconference call following the firm announced a $1.3 billion yearly reduction for 2020, he provided a positive case to get a steadier retrieval this season.
“While we had hoped the fourth-quarter results would be better, we are cautiously optimistic there will be a step change in demand once the vaccine has been broadly distributed,” he said. “We do expect health patterns to improve in the next two months and that restrictions will begin to relax.”
“We believe our customers are gearing up for travel in the spring and summer,” Minicucci said.
He said daily reservations this month are up 20 percent compared to December.
He explained Alaska plans to improve the number of flights and reach approximately 80 percent of its own 2019 aircraft ability levels by this summer, with a first focus on creating up routes from the Pacific Northwest and Alaska.
For now, he said, passenger traffic remains stuck at Just over one-third of regular levels, together with transcontinental flights the worst performers and demand for more profitable business travel at 15 percent of normal.
Fiscal results released Tuesday from Alaska Air, Parent company of Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air, show total revenue down 64 per cent and a reduction of $430 million in the final quarter.
Excluding the effect of government stimulus funds to encourage airlines, during the quarter Alaska spent $342 million more than it took in. That’s burning through cash at an ordinary speed of $3.7 million per day, down from $4.3 million daily in the previous quarter.
Alaska finished the year with $5.2 billion in liquidity, consisting of $3.3 billion in cash and the rest in accessible financial loans.
The fourth quarter results were much worse than analyst predictions, and Alaska stocks closed down $1.07, or 2 percent, in $51.83.
Brad Tilden, talking on his final quarterly teleconference phone before he measures as Alaska Air CEO, praised the airline’s resilience in face of this”deep and prolonged disruption.”
He pointed out that.
This was accomplished through aggressive cost-cutting. More than 10,600 workers took temporary departure in 2020, of whom 3,300 stayed on leave .
And Alaska Airlines cut on its fleet of 237 jets by carrying 40 Airbus A320s eternally out of service.