Delta reports £4.16 billion quarterly loss, a slight improvement as flyers slowly return

Oct 14, 2020

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Delta Air Lines saw a slight improvement in its financials during the third quarter, reporting only a £4.16 billion net loss as travellers slowly trickled back onto planes.

Amid a three-month period described as “choppy” by most airline executives, the Atlanta-based carrier saw revenues rise to £2.38 billion from a low of £1.15 billion during the quarter ending in June, Delta said on Tuesday. An increase in travellers drove the more-than-doubling of quarterly revenues.

However, the coronavirus pandemic still loomed large during the third quarter. Delta recorded £3.08 billion in COVID-related expenses — like voluntary departure packages for staff and the cost of retiring planes early — that coupled with operating expenses pushed the airline to its more than £3.85 billion net loss.

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And the all-important cash burn metric — a measure of an airline’s daily losses that the industry is uniformly focused on returning to zero — averaged £18.48 million a day over the three months. The measure fell to just £13.86 million a day in September.

“While our September quarter results demonstrate the magnitude of the pandemic on our business, we have been encouraged as more customers travel,” Delta CEO Ed Bastian said in a statement. “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 recovery.”

Some of those changes include Delta’s decision to retire its Boeing 717s and 767-300ERs, as well as its Bombardier CRJ200s, early in September.

This story will be updated with additional details throughout the day.

Featured image by Robert Smith/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images.

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