American Airlines has pushed back the timeframe by which it expects to fully recover from the pandemic downturn to no sooner than 2023.

The airline had previously expected its business would fully recover this year. However new Covid-19 variants and delays in delivery of Boeing 787s have forced re-evaluation.

American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Los Angeles airport

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“As we get to 2023, it’s definitely possible,” American chief financial officer Derek Kerr says of American’s expected recovery to the pre-Covid 2019 benchmark. “If we don’t get there [in 2023], we’ll get very close.”

Kerr made his comments during American’s fourth-quarter 2021 earnings call on 20 January.

During the call, executives said business-travel demand continues to lag, particularly bookings from American’s largest corporate accounts.

American has also been forced to cut its 2022 flying to due delays in deliveries by Boeing of new 787s.

The airline lost $2 billion in 2022. It expects to continue losing money in January and February but to turn profitable in March.