The only certainty with airlines is the uncertainty

The running tally of  airlines that have submitted applications for government aid under the $2T stimulus package includes American Airlines Group (NASDAQ:AAL), Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL), United Airlines (NASDAQ:UAL), JetBlue (NASDAQ:JBLU) and Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV).

The carriers have been very clear that government help won’t be enough to see them through the financial pressure of the pandemic and collapse of travel demand.

That negative vibe arrives on top of the late Friday updates from JetBlue, Delta and United Airlines (UAL) on their eye-popping cash burn rates and the selling by Berkshire Hathaway of shares of Southwest and Delta.

The path ahead for the sector is highly uncertain with airlines pushing back against the government on minimum domestic flying requirements and loan payback methods through equity, warrants or other financial instruments. That’s ignoring the even biggest issue of all. When will travel bounce back to pre-pandemic levels?


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