The long pandemic nightmare for airlines shows signs of improvement, however slowly.
Southwest Airlines said Thursday that it earned $116 million in the first quarter, thanks to federal aid that helped cover labor costs. Without the taxpayer money, Southwest would have lost $1 billion.
Southwest has become the first major U.S. airline to report a profit since the coronavirus pandemic started in March 2020.
Company representatives say the demand for travel is improving and they are seeing more bookings for leisure trips.
Meanwhile, American Airlines announced they lost $1.25 billion in the first quarter of 2021. Still, their CEO said American is also seeing an increase in bookings ahead of the summer vacation season.
American also said they are delaying delivery of 23 new planes as they wait for air travel to recover from the pandemic. They have enacted other cost-saving measures, including a new round of voluntary buyouts that will mean 1,600 employees are leaving the company.