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American Airlines and their Black Swan Moment: What they said and what they did

 Quick version of American Airlines’ commentary

“…people would suggest we should be less levered, that is, in the risk of something, for risk protection…” American Airlines CEO – 2Q2018 earnings call

Airlines have received a good deal of attention lately related to their potential bailouts, with some critics noting they have aggressively been buying back shares rather than accelerating debt paydowns and shoring up cash for any unforeseen circumstances. Many airlines have repeatedly gone bankrupt over the years. Since the end of 2013, they have spent 96% of free cash flow on buybacks. American Airlines, in particular, repurchased almost $13 billion of stock. Bloomberg, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and Dallas Morning Times (AAL is based in Dallas), have all written about this.

I’ve taken a different approach in this blog post, by assembling American Airlines’ own commentary on debt and buybacks over the past couple of years to see if they were aware of the risks and what they said about it.

I want people to form their own conclusions, so please check out the above video summarizing their comments.

It’s a trimmed down video. For those who want to dig deeper, I’ve also assembled the longer video below with more complete comments.

And for those who would like to dig even deeper, further below are links to the actual full transcripts for totally complete comments.

Add your opinion on the subject to the comments below.

The longer video

Long version of American Airlines’ commentary
From public filings.

Transcripts:

1Q2018 (4/26/2018)

2Q2018 (7/26/2018)

3Q2018 (10/25/2018)

4Q2018 (1/24/2019)

1Q2019 (4/26/2019)

2Q2019 (7/25/2019)

3Q2019 (10/24/2019)

4Q2019 (1/23/2020)

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