Delta Air Lines, now the world’s largest airline, reported financial results for the March 2009 quarter, including a net loss of $794 million. The airline also announced a $50 fee to check a second bag for international travel beginning July 1 as a means of increasing revenue.
Delta said it realized approximately $100 million in synergy benefits from its October merger with Northwest Airlines, and generated approximately $600 million in operating cash flow. Delta ended the quarter with $5 billion in unrestricted liquidity.
“Despite the worst economic recession in our lifetime, the fundamental strength of Delta’s business allowed us to deliver breakeven results this quarter, excluding fuel hedge losses and special items. These results would not be possible without the hard work of all Delta employees – they are running a great airline while executing a seamless integration in the midst of this very difficult economic environment,” said Richard Anderson, Delta’s chief executive officer. “We remain focused on making disciplined decisions about capacity, costs and capital, achieving merger synergies and finding new sources of revenue.”
In response to the global recession, Delta said it is implementing a number of initiatives in 2009 to increase revenues, reduce costs and preserve liquidity:
• Effective today, for international travel beginning July 1, Delta will charge customers a $50 fee to check a second bag, which the company expects to generate more than $100 million annually.
• To improve profitability in its cargo operation, Delta will ground its entire fleet of 14 B747-200 freighter aircraft effective December 31, due to that fleet’s age and inefficiency.
• As previously announced, Delta will reduce international capacity by 10 percent, compared to the prior year, beginning in September. As a result, in the December quarter, Delta expects system capacity to be down 6 to 8 percent, and international capacity to be down 9 percent to 11 percent year-overyear.
• Delta is accelerating merger synergies to the extent possible, including certain initiatives related to cross-fleeting, technology, and loyalty programs, among others.
• More than 2,500 employees participated in Delta’s voluntary early out and early retirement programs offered in January 2009. Most of the employees who elected to participate in these programs are expected to leave the company following the summer travel season.