Reuters News Service has seen the remarks that Airlines for America CEO Nick Calio will deliver to the U.S. Senate today, Wednesday, May 6, and they are not pretty.
Calio will testify that domestic airlines are collectively burning through $10 billion a month as the industry tries to stave off the massive repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic that has seen a 90 percent drop in passengers compared to last year.
“The U.S. airline industry will emerge from this crisis a mere shadow of what it was just three short months ago,” Calio will tell the Senate today in a hearing before the Commerce Committee regarding the financially damaged sector.
He will note that 3,000 aircraft are sitting idle, net booked passengers are off by nearly 100 percent and airlines are averaging just 17 passengers per domestic flight and 29 for international trips.
Calio will tell the committee that if carriers were to refund all tickets, including those purchased as nonrefundable or those canceled by a passenger instead of the carrier, “this will result in negative cash balances that will lead to bankruptcy.”
Calio said airlines “anticipate a long and difficult road ahead. … History has shown that air transport demand has never experienced a V-shaped recovery from a downturn.”
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