On Average, US Airlines Have Enough Cash to Survive 8 Months

Time continues to be of the essence for virtually every business affected by the global coronavirus pandemic, and especially critical for a U.S. aviation industry that is facing the potential loss of several whole airlines.

According to a new report issued by financial services firm Raymond James and summarized by the aviation blog The Points Guy, domestic carriers have, on average, enough cash on hand to survive about eight months before they face bankruptcy or, worse, insolvency.

For some, it’s a little longer. Regional carrier SkyWest can go almost a full year with what it has in the bank.

For others, it’s a more pressing issue. According to Raymond James, American has enough cash to only last about 4.8 months. American is carrying the most debt among U.S. airlines.

Still, it’s better than the global average.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) estimates global carriers have an average of three months of cash on hand. The Points Guy noted that IATA has previously said that nearly half of airlines could collapse or consolidate without government support.

“At times like this, it’s actually balance sheets that are critical to survival,” said IATA chief economist Brian Pearce during a press briefing in March.

What airlines need is revenue, but until the virus is completely obliterated, it appears that demand for travel will continue to be decreased. The Raymond James estimates do not include monies from the CARES Act, the stimulus package signed by President Trump last month that includes $25 billion in grants for airlines.

Here are the Raymond James estimates for each airline:

—SkyWest: 11.8 months of implied cash on hand

—Allegiant: 10.6 months

—Southwest: 9.4 months

—Spirit: 8.8 months

—JetBlue: 8.7 months

—Alaska: 6.6 months

—Mesa: 6.3 months

—Delta: 6.2 months

—United: 5.7 months

—American: 4.8 months

Raymond James calculated “implied months of cash on hand” by analyzing each carriers’ cash and credit reserves, and estimated cash burn. The calculations do not include any possible government funds from the CARES Act.

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