Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway has sold its entire stake in 4 largest US Airlines as it posted a quarterly loss of nearly $50bn (£40bn). Warren Buffett yesterday told the company’s annual meeting that ‘the world has changed’ for the aviation industry.
The conglomerate was one of the largest individual holders in the four airlines and in 2016 disclosed it had begun investing in the four carriers after avoiding the sector for years. According to its annual report and company filings the conglomerate had held position in the Airlines which including an 11% stake in Delta Air Lines, 10% of American Airlines Co., 10% of Southwest Airlines Co. and 9% of United Airlines at the end of 2019.
Airline stocks have been hardly hit by the near collapse US travel demand during the corona virus outbreak. US Airlines are cutting thousands of flights, parking thousands of planes as US travel demand has fallen by 95% and there is no any clear timetable for passengers to return to the flights at pre crisis levels. Buffett said -“We made that decision in terms of the airline business. We took money out of the business basically even at a substantial loss. We will not fund a company, where we think that it is going to chew up money in the future.”
Berkshire disclosed on April 3 it had sold like 18% of its Delta stake and about 4% of its Southwest shares. Delta said in a statement – “it was aware of the sale and has tremendous respect for Mr. Buffett and the Berkshire team.” The Airline added to it remains confident that the strengths that are core to Delta’s business that our people, our brand, our network and our operational reliability will endure and position Delta to succeed.