Photo: Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images

Southwest Airlines reported Tuesday a first-quarter net loss of $94 million as the coronavirus pandemic brings the airline industry to its knees.

The big picture: It's clear the pandemic has painfully impacted the travel industry, specifically airlines, which are now reporting their losses during 2020's first quarter as U.S. travel plunges 95% from the same time last year.

Why it matters: This is the first time Southwest has reported a loss in nearly a decade.

  • The airline doesn't fly to Asia, so it felt the pain of the pandemic later than its competitors.
  • The company is cutting its schedule through July — normally a peak travel season — as flight cancellations remain at an unprecedented high.
  • Southwest notes they have been able to maintain their liquidity, but aren't able to project revenue past May.

Worth noting, per Axios' Joann Muller: Southwest's quarterly report also disclosed that there could be further delays in the return to flight for Boeing’s grounded 737 MAX fleet.

  • Citing new information from Boeing on the MAX's return-to-service date, Southwest said it doesn't expect to be flying the trouble aircraft before Oct. 30, adding to the woes for both companies.
  • Boeing did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

What's next: Other airlines will be reporting their first-quarter numbers in the next week or so.

Go deeper: A lifeline emerges for the devastated airline industry

Go deeper

Updated Oct 7, 2020 - Health

World coronavirus updates

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Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

New Zealand now has active no coronavirus cases in the community after the final six people linked to the Auckland cluster recovered, the country's Health Ministry confirmed in an email Wednesday.

The big picture: The country's second outbreak won't officially be declared closed until there have been "no new cases for two incubation periods," the ministry said. Auckland will join the rest of NZ in enjoying no domestic restrictions from late Wednesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, declaring that NZ had "beat the virus again."

Coronavirus hotspots begin to improve

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Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Map: Andrew Witherspoon, Danielle Alberti, Sara Wise/Axios

Coronavirus infections are falling or holding steady in most of the country, including the hard-hit hotspots of Arizona, California and Florida.

The big picture: A decline in new infections is always good news, but don't be fooled: the U.S. still has a very long way to go to recover from this summer's surge.

GOP senator says stimulus needs to be as "narrowly focused" on COVID-19 as possible

Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said at an Axios virtual event Wednesday that the next coronavirus relief package needs to be as "narrowly focused" on COVID-specific issues as possible in order to resolve the differences between Republicans and Democrats.

Why it matters: Democrats and negotiators from the Trump administration remain far apart on a deal for the next tranche of relief. The fraught negotiations come as millions of Americans continue to suffer from the health and economic effects of the pandemic without the unemployment benefits from the first stimulus bill.

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