Airlines routinely posted losses deeper than the revenue they brought in during the April-June quarter, as the virtual grounding of international scheduled services wiped out much of their business.
In essence it means costs incurred for most airlines - even with measures taken to cut expenditure during the grounding - were more than double the revenues generated during the quarter.
FlightGlobal analysis of results so far published by 26 leading airline groups for the second quarter of the calendar year show collective net losses of just over $26 billion have been recorded so far. The same carriers generated revenues of $17 billion during the same period.
While different accounting and state support measures mean the figures do not consistently account for gains such as state payroll support measures and one-off restructuring costs, the figures underline the scale of the pressure the industry has been under.
Collective operating losses, covering 25 airlines, stood at just under $25 billion for the three months ending June 2020. By contrast, the same carriers posted profits of $10.7 billion in the same period last year.
Net losses covering 25 airlines reached $26.3 billion for the quarter. That compares with collective profits of $6.6 billion for April-June 2019.
All the carriers to report for the quarter, except Korean Air, were loss-making during the period. By contrast only three of these carriers posted a net loss for the same quarter last year, and all bar Korean were profitable at an operating level in what is traditionally one of the strongest financial quarters for airlines.
US carriers, the most profitable over recent years, posted collective net losses of $12 billion during the quarter.
The losses reflect the collapse in airline passenger revenues for the quarter. Revenues for the 25 carriers stood at $15.2 billion. That figure is drastically down on the $102 billion these carriers generated in the same quarter in 2019.
Cargo offered some tonic for airlines during the crisis, notably in terms of improved yields, and prompted many operators to redeploy passenger aircraft on freight missions. As a result, some groups, such Lufthansa Cargo, reported increased freight revenues and turned round losses at the same stage last year to post a profit.
Notably Korean Air cited its freight performance for posting a profit for the three months ending June 2020 compared with a loss for the same period last year.
But the large reduction in belly capacity from the grounding of the passenger fleet meant cargo revenues for most operators were also down on 2019 levels during the quarter, even with the improved profitability.
Leading airline group financial results April-June 2020 ($m)
|Airline/Group||2020 revenue||2019 revenue||2020 op result||2019 op result||2020 net result||2019 net result|
|Delta Air Lines||1,468||12,536||-4,815||2,128||-5,717||1,443|
|American Airlines||1,622||11,960||- 2,486||1,153||-2,067||662|
|United Airlines Holding||1,475||11,402||-1,637||1,472||-1,627||1,052|
|Air France-KLM Group||1,389||8,252||-1,825||450||-3,070||91|
|Japan Airlines Group||720||3,288||-1,236||171||- 885||110|
|SIA Group||618||2,980||- 753||109||-816||81|
|Alaska Air Group||421||2,288||-288||364||-214||262|
|Allegiant Air||133||492||-113||108||- 93||71|
|Source: FightGlobal analysis of airline financial announcements. All figures ($m)|
This article was updated on 7 August to add in Korean Air results