Warren Buffett, chairman and chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., speaks during the virtual Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholders meeting seen on a laptop computer in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., on Saturday, May 2, 2020.
A 95% plunge in passengers. Billions in losses. A rush for new debt. A recovery that executives expect to take years. Coronavirus is roiling the airline industry and the Oracle of Omaha has seen enough.
Warren Buffett told investors Saturday that Berkshire Hathaway has sold its entire stakes in the four largest U.S. airlines — American, Delta, Southwest, United — as the pandemic upends another bet on the sector that the famed investor had shunned for years before a surprise return in 2016.
An embittered Buffett said in 2007 investor letter: “If a farsighted capitalist had been present at Kitty Hawk, he would have done his successors a huge favor by shooting Orville down” and referred to a soured bet on US Air in the 1990s. “The airline…