Alaska Airlines reports first quarterly loss in over a decade, passenger demand 10 percent of normal

An Alaska Airlines jet takes off at the Nome airport. (David Dodman)

Demand for flights on Alaska Airlines is less than 10 percent of normal, according to a financial report today from the airline’s parent company on its first quarterly loss in more than a decade.

Alaska Air Group attributes the losses to “unprecedented” impacts from Covid-19, which caused a sharp decline in passenger bookings during the first three months of 2020, continuing into April and May.

Alaska Airlines CEO Brad Tilden called the pandemic, “one of the greatest challenges in the history of commercial aviation.”

In its quarterly report, Alaska Air Group noted a net loss of $232 million. That’s compared to a reported profit of $4 million from the same time period last year.

Alaska Airlines has parked more than 150 aircraft, cut its overall number of flights and expects further “significant” reductions in May and June.

The airline reported receiving $992 million in federal CARES Act funding in late April.

Meantime, Alaska Airlines is looking at using passenger jets to fly cargo, with company photos showing packages sitting in seats instead of people. And, like other airlines, Alaska is requiring passengers who are still flying to wear masks on its planes.

Alaska Airlines has the most regularly scheduled flights to Alaska and the most within the state.