Alaska Air Group (NYSE: ALK) on Thursday reported a wider than expected adjusted net loss of $399 million in the third quarter versus 2019, with total revenue falling 71% to $701 million.
The adjusted net loss was $40 million lower than for the second quarter. Cargo and miscellaneous revenue was 25% lower at $45 million.
Alaska lowered its daily cash burn in the quarter to $4 million per day from $5 million daily in the second quarter.
The airline achieved an adjusted earnings per share of minus $3.23, compared to the consensus estimate of minus $2.95. Revenue was slightly ahead of Wall Street’s estimate of $684 million.
Revenue for Alaska’s primary passenger business dropped 74%.
Passenger traffic and revenue have improved each month since April’s bottom, with load factors reaching 48.5% in the third quarter. But bookings remain depressed, leading Cowen investment bank to estimate cash flow breakeven will be pushed to early 2021.
Alaska Air appears in position to weather the pandemic with $5.5 billion in liquidity. During the third quarter it received nearly $400 million in federal payroll support that applied to all airlines. So far, the company has only had to lay off about 400 employees because 4,000 employees accepted voluntary early retirement and incentive leave packages.
In related news, Alaska announced a partnership with Microsoft to use sustainable aviation fuel to offset the environmental impact of certain business air travel.
Under the first U.S. partnership of its kind, Microsoft will purchase biofuel credits from supplier SkyNRG for flights between Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and three popular California destinations.