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American Airlines Group Inc aircraft at Ronald Reagan National Airport (DCA) in Arlington, Virginia, USA, on Wednesday, November 25, 2020. While passenger volumes are less than 40 per cent of last year’s levels, late demand for holiday travel has been driven by fares that are substantially lower than typical as airlines desperately try to fill seats during the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo: Bloomberg)

American Airlines to put most jets back in service as travel rebounds

American Airlines Group Inc aircraft at Ronald Reagan National Airport (DCA) in Arlington, Virginia, USA, on Wednesday, November 25, 2020. While passenger volumes are less than 40 per cent of last year’s levels, late demand for holiday travel has been driven by fares that are substantially lower than typical as airlines desperately try to fill seats during the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo: Bloomberg)

American Airlines Group Inc expects to put most of its fleet back in service in the second quarter following “recent strength in domestic and short-haul international bookings”.

Falling infections and hospitalisations and rising vaccinations have spurred demand after a blow early this year when the US required negative coronavirus tests for international travellers, American said in a regulatory filing Monday. The seven-day average of net bookings on March 26 was about 90 per cent of the 2019 level and domestic flights are 80 per cent full, the company said.

(Photo: Yahoo)

American Airlines’ improved assessment indicated the progress made in recent weeks against a pandemic that caused an unprecedented decline in travel last year. The Fort Worth, Texas-based company projected that bookings strength would continue through the end of the month and into the second quarter, but cautioned that visibility was limited.

The demand outlook for long-haul international flights is also cloudy. Much of Europe is lagging behind the US in vaccine distribution, and some countries have recently imposed more restrictions on movement and gatherings.

American Airlines was little changed at US$22.94 at 9:53 am in New York. The shares had climbed 45 per cent this year through March 26, the most on a Standard & Poor’s index of major US carriers.

First-quarter system capacity will be down 40 per cent to 45 per cent from the same period in 2019, American said. That represents a slight improvement from the airline’s previous outlook of down 45 per cent.