News: Delta Air Lines reports huge quarterly losses

Delta Air Lines has reported a pre-tax loss of $2.6 billion for the three months to the end of September.

In addition, the carrier said it has incurred a further $4 billion in losses in from items directly related to the impact of Covid-19 and the its response, including fleet-related restructuring charges and charges for voluntary separation and early retirement programs for Delta employees.

This figure was, however, partially offset by the benefit of the Cares Act grant recognised in the quarter.

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“While our September quarter results demonstrate the magnitude of the pandemic on our business, we have been encouraged as more customers travel and we are seeing a path of progressive improvement in our revenues, financial results and daily cash burn,” said Ed Bastian, Delta chief executive.

“The actions we are taking now to take care of our people, simplify our fleet, improve the customer experience, and strengthen our brand will allow Delta to accelerate into a post-Covid-19 recovery.”

Total adjusted revenue at Delta was $2.6 billion for the three months, down 79 per cent on 63 per cent lower capacity versus last year.

At the end of the September quarter, the company had $21.6 billion in liquidity.

During the September quarter cash burn averaged a staggering $24 million per day, though this was down to $18 million per day for the month of September.

“With a slow and steady build in demand, we are restoring flying to meet our customers’ needs, while staying nimble with our capacity in light of Covid-19,” said Glen Hauenstein, Delta president. 

“While it may be two years or more until we see a normalised revenue environment, by restoring customer confidence in travel and building customer loyalty now, we are creating the foundation for sustainable future revenue growth.”

With demand likely to be well below expected levels into 2023, Delta is also cutting its fleet.

The company has announced plans to accelerate retirements of nearly 400 aircraft by 2025, including more than 200 this year alone.

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