Berkshire Hathaway, the investment fund of American investor Warren Buffett, has sold its shares in the four largest airlines in the US. Buffett announced this at the company’s annual meeting on Saturday.
Until recently, Berkshire had fairly large interests in the airlines. For example, at the end of last year it held 11 percent of Delta Air Lines’ shares, 10 percent of American Airlines, roughly the same percentage of Southwest Airlines and 9 percent of United Airlines.
Berkshire’s total share sales accounted for $ 6.5 billion in April, the majority of which came from airline interests. According to Buffett, the future of the airline industry has drastically changed in the last few months. The billionaire says that the sale of the shares has resulted in “significant losses” and “was my own fault”.
The aviation industry has been hit hard by the global coronavirus outbreak. Boeing CEO David Calhoun stated earlier this week that the airline industry is missing out on $ 314 billion in revenue this year due to the “unprecedented” crisis. In the United States alone, 2,800 aircraft are aground. Furthermore, the passenger flow has dried up by 95 percent.
Berkshire Hathaway suffered a net loss of nearly $ 50 billion in the first three months as equity and other investments plummeted through the corona crisis. The operating profit of companies owned by Buffett’s investment company achieved a 3 percent lower operating profit than a year earlier.