American and United report heavy losses

AMERICAN and United Airlines have reported heavy losses due to the global economic downturn.

United’s parent, UAL, said its loss for 2008 was US $5.35 billion having paid $2.9 billion more in fuel costs than in 2007.

“Last year was by any measure a challenging year – defined by unprecedented volatility and unpredictability, but for United it was also characterised by steady and durable improvements,” said Glenn Tilton, United’s chairman, president and CEO.

“Our management team made timely decisions that resulted in fundamental improvements across our business, which will hold us in good stead in 2009.”

American’s parent company, AMR, reported a loss of $2.07 billion in 2008 mainly due to the high fuel costs last year.

“Our fourth quarter and full-year 2008 results reflect the difficulties all airlines faced last year, but we believe our steps to reduce capacity, bolster liquidity, and improve revenue helped us better manage the challenges of record fuel prices and a weak economy,” said AMR chairman and chief executive Gerard Arpey.

“We believe these actions and our fleet renewal efforts have put us on sounder footing as we face continued economic uncertainty, slower travel demand, and fuel price volatility in 2009. We intend to continue managing our business – from capacity and fleet planning to balance sheet repair, fuel hedging and revenue initiatives – conservatively and with discipline.”

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