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As Airlines Recover During Pandemic, Southwest Airlines Posts Modest Revenue Improvement

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM/CNN) - While revenues for Dallas-based Southwest Airlines were down some 95 percent in April, officials with the company say demand for air travel is picking up.

After weeks of essentially zero demand for U.S. air travel, even a small improvement in passenger demand, bookings, and trip cancellations, is a step in the right direction. Southwest said the number of flight bookings outpaced cancellations over the past month. Cancellations had been outpacing bookings during the majority of March and April.

But the picture still isn't rosy: Southwest predicts it will sell only 25% to 30% of the seats on its greatly reduced schedule of flights this month.

The airline hasn't changed its guidance for how many flights it expects to have this month, and Southwest still forecasts that the schedule will reduced by 60% to 70% from last year's schedule for the month.

But Southwest raised its forecast for June: It said it expects to have only a 45% to 55% reduction in capacity in the month. And it expects June revenue to be down 80% to 85%, selling only 30% to 45% of seats.

Still, the company cautioned that the environment remains uncertain.

Southwest is the nation's fourth largest airline behind American, Delta and United.

Southwest CEO Gary Kelly has repeatedly said that he expected air travel would start to return when the country started to reopen. But he said he didn't know how much, and how fast, that return in demand would take place.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The CNN Wire™ & © 2020 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company contributed to this report.)

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