American Airlines Reaches Traffic Milestone

In the face of the industry-devastating coronavirus pandemic that has decimated the demand for air travel, American Airlines saw a glimmer of hope this week.

Wednesday, May 20, marked a milestone. According to Fox Business, American carried its highest amount of passengers since March 22, a span of almost two months

Capacity was down 95 percent across the board during March and April; for American, demand is still down 84 percent compared to the same time period last year but nonetheless has grown slightly during the month of May.

“In April, we had a 15 percent load factor and so far, month-to-date in May, we’re at 35 percent,” American Airlines executives said during a digital investor conference. Meanwhile, in April of 2019, the carrier was flying planes that were 85 percent full.

In general, people are staying away from travel. Even car trips are expected to be down, as AAA failed to deliver a Memorial Day travel forecast for the first time in decades.

For American, it’s a small sliver of good news in the face of rough news—the world’s largest airline is also the most vulnerable for bankruptcy, according to a new study of risk assessment by the firm RapidRatings.

“American is the most at risk and that’s it in every way you look at it. American stands out as the weakest of this cohort,” RapidRatings CEO James Gellert told Yahoo Finance.

His firm, which has done similar work for McDonald’s (MCD) and Unilever (UL), looks at whether a company can withstand shocks like the COVID-19 crisis, which has devastated the global economy.

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