Jim Cramer: What Zoom Means for Southwest After Pandemic

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Southwest  (LUV) - Get Report posted its biggest quarterly loss ever as the coronavirus pandemic continues to pummel air travel, though said it was retaining cash as it continues to both cut costs and trim back its critical cash-burn rate.

The Dal-based airline posted a third-quarter loss of $1.2 billion, or $1.96 a share, vs. income of $659 million, or $1.23 a share, in the same period a year ago. Excluding special items, Southwest lost $1.2 billion, or $1.99 a share.

Analysts polled by FactSet had been expecting a loss of $2.35 a share.

Third-quarter operating revenue was $1.8 billion, down 68% from a year ago. Southwest ended the third quarter with liquidity of $15.6 billion, consisting of cash and short-term investments of $14.6 billion and a secured revolving credit facility of $1 billion.

The airline’s cash-burn rate, a number carriers calculate that reflects how much cash they are using to continue operations despite losses, was approximately $16 million per day in the third quarter, an improvement from average core cash burn of approximately $23 million per day in the second quarter, “primarily due to improving revenue trends,” Southwest said.

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