Revenues rebound at American, Southwest

It's early days yet for the rebound in the airline sector but the group is seeing light piercing through the clouds.

American Airlines posted a second-quarter profit Tuesday of $19 million, that's a huge improvement from the $2 billion loss it suffered the same time last year, when the health crisis grounded air travel to a virtual halt.

The airline saw strong bookings from travelers who are eager to get out.

Total revenues at the airline surged 361 percent last quarter, bringing in nearly $7-1/2 billion in sales.

That number was better than expected, but not enough to return to pre-crisis levels.

To better position itself for the expected uptick in demand, American is increasing the number of pilots it plans to hire this year and next, according to a staff memo reviewed by Reuters.

And last week it asked more than 3,000 flight attendants on voluntary leave to come back to work in time for the holiday travel season.

Southwest Airlines also posted results on Thursday.

The domestic discount carrier saw a 300 percent surge in quarterly revenues.

Overall, it lost money.

But Southwest said things turned up at the end of the quarter, and in June was able to rake-in about $4 million a day.

CEO Gary Kelly said he expects to see further improvement in July and profits to keep on flowing from this point on.

Both airlines are now keeping their eyes on bookings to see if the Delta variant prompts some travelers to put plans on hold.

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