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Southwest Airlines (LUV) earnings Q1 2020 results in loss and revenue plunge

A number of grounded Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft are shown parked at Victorville Airport in Victorville, California, March 26, 2019.

Mike Blake | Reuters

Southwest Airlines on Tuesday posted its first quarterly loss since 2011 and predicted “no material improvement in air travel trends” this spring as coronavirus devastates demand.

The Dallas-based airline lost $94 million in the quarter on revenue of $4.23 billion, an 18{3c4481f38fc19dde56b7b1f4329b509c88239ba5565146922180ec5012de023f} decline in sales compared with a year earlier, slightly lower than analyst estimates.

The airline said it expects its operating revenues next month to fall as much as 95{3c4481f38fc19dde56b7b1f4329b509c88239ba5565146922180ec5012de023f} from a year earlier but warned it is “unable to reasonably estimate trends beyond May 2020.”

Southwest follows Delta and United in posting a loss for the quarter. Travel is among the hardest-hit industries from the coronavirus and severe measures to stop it from spreading like shelter-in-place orders.

First quarter results reflect when coronavirus and the start of stay-at-home orders in the United States, where Southwest mostly flies. Travel demand was still relatively strong early in the year, but losses are expected to deepen in the spring.

The timing of the coronavirus crisis couldn’t be worse for the sector. The disease and accompanying economic downturn is sapping travel demand during the peak spring and summer travel season, usually airlines’ most lucrative time of year.

This is breaking news. Check back for updates.

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