Analysts estimate that U.S. airlines could end up losing more than $35 billion due to the coronavirus pandemic when the final figures of 2020 are tallied, according to a report by CNBC.
The estimates provided by FactSet also indicate that recovery for the airlines won’t begin until the second half of 2021.
The pandemic ended a decade of profits for the airline industry, including the first annual loss by Southwest Airlines in four decades. CNBC said American Airlines’ share price lost 45 percent, its biggest percentage decline since before the carrier’s 2013 merger with US Airways. Delta Air Lines’ stock lost 31 percent, while United Airlines fell 51 percent over the last 12 months, its biggest drop since 2008. Southwest shed 14 percent.
Carriers recently won $15 billion in additional payroll support in the latest coronavirus relief package that President Donald Trump signed Sunday. That requires airlines to keep employees on staff through March 31 and to call back more than 30,000 workers they furloughed in October.
United Airlines executives said they expect it will be temporary.
“The truth is, we just don’t see anything in the data that shows a huge difference in bookings over the next few months,” United CEO Scott Kirby and President Brett Hart said in a Dec. 21 employee note. “That is why we expect the recall will be temporary.”
And airline troubles will continue for several years, the financial news outlet noted, since debt increased by $67 billion in 2020.
This article originally appeared on Travel Pulse