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American Airlines Reports $2 Billion Loss in 2021

American Airlines Reports $2 Billion Loss in 2021


The parent company of American Airlines, American Airlines Group (AAG) released their 2021 financial results on January 20th, revealing a total net loss of $2 billion for the year. American Airlines is the largest airline in the world by fleet size and passengers carried. While a $2 billion loss is not great for the airline, it is still much better compared with the $8.9 billion net loss reported in 2020. Although COVID-19 continues to negatively impact the airline industry, airlines have been recovering at a rapid rate since the start of 2021. 


Photo of N773AN - American Airlines Boeing 777-200 at LAX
American Airlines had a $2 billion loss in 2021. Photo: Winston Shek


AAG’s total operating revenue for 2021 was $29.9 billion. Passenger revenue made up $26.1 billion, cargo revenue made up $1.3 billion, and other revenue made up $2.5 billion of their total operating revenue. Cargo revenue almost doubled over the past year as AAG reported $769 million in cargo revenue in 2020. This increase shows the extreme growth in the air cargo industry since the pandemic started. Passenger revenue is up by $11.6 billion compared to 2020 highlighting the recovery and return of normal passenger service. 


In terms of expenses, operating expenses totaled $30.9 billion with staffing and fuel costs making up the bulk of expenses. AAG reported staffing costs of $11.8 billion and fuel costs of $6.8 billion. Other expenses included maintenance, regional, rental facilities, aircraft leasing, crew accommodations, and catering. 


Photo of N915NN - American Airlines Boeing 737-800 at BOS
The airline reported increased revenue in 2021. Photo: Tighe Donovan


AAG’s 2021 financial statement is indicative of a fast recovery despite high COVID-19 levels in the United States. American Airlines is on the road back to profitability while maintaining its status as the world’s largest airline.


Jack Jarzynka
Planespotter and Aviation Enthusiast based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

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