As we continue to navigate our way through this unprecedented and unchartered environment due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen an alarming drop in bookings and sales. We do not have a clear line of sight of when we will see our business return to normal trends, and it is very difficult to determine the duration and severity of the impact. Yesterday, we filed a form 8-K with an update on the impact to our business, which you can read here.
Here are a few notable items in the filing:
“The Company has experienced more dramatic declines in passenger bookings in March and second quarter 2020, as well as an unprecedented increase in close-in trip cancellations. The Company has recently experienced several days of net negative bookings, primarily in March and April 2020, where trip cancellations outpaced new passenger bookings. The Company's month-to-date load factor through March 15, 2020, was approximately 67 percent, with recent days trending toward 50 percent. As the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic grows, and based on current booking and cancellation trends, we expect revenue trends for the remainder of March and second quarter 2020 to deteriorate further.
Given the continued uncertainty of revenue trends attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Company has taken several actions to help manage the near-term financial impacts. The Company will soon reduce its published flight schedules, which will reduce available seat miles (ASMs, or capacity) by at least 20 percent for the time period April 14, 2020, through June 5, 2020. These flight schedule reductions are in addition to the Company's existing capacity impact due to the Boeing 737 MAX groundings. The Company continues to evaluate further flight schedule reductions.”
The vast majority of the revisions will be frequency reductions in markets where we offer four or more nonstop flights. The revisions will vary by day of week and region—some airports and regions will be more impacted than others.
Customers who have already booked their travel and will be impacted by our amended schedule will be notified of their re-accommodated travel according to our flexible accommodation procedures. If you would like to rebook, you may change your travel up to 60 days from your original flight date by visiting southwest.com/rebook. Flights that have seats available will display as “Available.” Doing this online is your best option as call volumes are likely to be very high to reach a Southwest Representative.
If you are unsure of your future travel plans, you do not need to take any action. Rest assured, the funds used to pay for this trip will be available for the Customer named on the ticket to use and fly for 12 months from the original date of purchase. Simply use your original confirmation number as the way to access these funds in the future—similar to “store credit” at most retail establishments.
We're working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and government officials and agencies to stay apprised of the latest prevention and containment protocols. Additionally, we’ve created a host of resources for our Employees and Customers with information, updates, and FAQs, which you can find right here on our blog and a Travel Advisory on southwest.com.
We fully realize this has been an enormously trying time for our Southwest Family, our Customers, and our communities. Our hearts go out to all of those who have been impacted by this pandemic. Of course, we regret the inconvenience to our Customers impacted by this change, and we thank them for their patience, trust, and understanding.