On Thursday American Airlines spoke to investors and journalists on their earnings call about the financial results during the first quarter and the challenges that lie ahead.
After the earnings call, as they always do, senior leadership at the airline hold a forum where they speak to employees and take questions. Here are 7 of the things they shared during that session, having reviewed a recording of that session.
- CEO Doug Parker didn’t have a final decision on requiring masks yet, the concern was putting employees in a position of enforcement. They thought with low load factors requiring flight attendants to wear masks and encouraging it from customers was “the right spot for us to be in right now” and “where virtually everyone else is.” As soon as the prevailing winds shifted, so did American, literally the very same day coming out with a requirement for passengers to wear masks.
- Of 39,000 voluntary leaves and early retirements that American Airlines employees have taken, 4600 are early outs. These likely were most popular with pilots.
- The airline is seeing a significant decline in active COVID cases among employees, 30% – 40% over the last few weeks, centered around flight attendants (down 85%) where the airline has focused on social distancing on the aircraft.
- American is working on face shields for deployment to gates and ticket areas.
- There is “very little demand for the airline product,” it has “plateaued at zero” according to Senior Vice President of Planning Vasu Raja.
- 80% of flights go out with less than 25% loads right now, 95% go out with less than 50% loads, according to airline President Robert Isom. There aren’t a lot of full flights, even with the airline’s current limited schedule. However as schedules drop further, they’re capping flight loads through end of May to ensure distancing. That means blocking 50% of middle seats in coach, in contrast to Delta which is blocking the equivalent of all of their middle seats.
- International service is expected to be much reduced not just this year but also next year. Where the aircraft that don’t get retired will be based going forward will change.