April 15: AMR Corporation, the parent company of American Airlines, reported a net loss of $375 million for the first quarter of 2009. “While lower fuel prices have provided a significant buffer against falling demand in 2009, the struggling economy and capital markets remain significant challenges for American and the rest of the industry,” said AMR Chairman and CEO Gerard Arpey.
Despite the losses, American received an additional financing commitment from AMR for two of its Boeing 737-800 deliveries and put into service two new 737s to begin the process of replacing its MD-80 fleet. American took delivery of two new Boeing 737-800 aircraft earlier this month as it begins to replace its narrow-body fleet with more fuel-efficient aircraft. Including these aircraft, which are American’s first deliveries of 737 aircraft since late 2001, the company expects delivery of 29 737s in 2009, 39 in 2010, and eight in early 2011. The new 737s are about 35 percent more fuel efficient per available seat mile than the MD-80s they will replace.
In addition to the impact of reduced passenger and cargo traffic, 2009 unit costs are expected to improve due to lower costs on items such as information technology spending, consulting fees and a pay freeze for all non-contract employees.
Arpey added, “Our 2009 outlook remains challenging, but the hard work we have done in recent years to bolster liquidity, reduce debt and operate with capacity discipline has better prepared us to face these difficulties.”