Airlines Bet On Big December After Covid Variant Setback

American Airlines passenger jets prepare for departure, Wednesday, July 21, 2021, near a terminal at Boston Logan International Airport, in Boston. American Airlines says it earned $169 million in the third quarter, but the delta variant of COVID-19 slowed down its recovery from the pandemic. The third-quarter profit was possible because American got nearly $1 billion in pandemic relief from the federal government. American said Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021, that revenue in the fourth quarter will be down 20% compared with the same period in 2019. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

(AP) — American and Southwest Airlines are reporting that they made profits in the third quarter, thanks to large amounts of government pandemic relief. The airlines said Thursday they are expecting strong traffic over the holidays if cases of COVID-19 keep declining. The highly contagious delta variant cut into revenue over the last couple months. Still, American posted a $169 million profit after collecting nearly $1 billion in taxpayer money to cover most of its payroll costs. And Southwest earned $446 million after getting $763 million in federal aid.

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