Delta Reports $1.4 Billion Loss

Delta Air Lines reported a quarterly loss on merger costs and bad fuel hedges Tuesday, but said falling fuel prices and downsizing would bring profits in 2009.

The airline linked the bulk of its $1.4 billion fourth-quarter loss to a non-cash charges related to its purchase of Northwest Airlines late last year.

The airline slashed its domestic capacity by 11 percent in the second half of 2008, said it would cut total mainline capacity by another 6 percent to 8 percent in 2009. The reduction will require the removal of 40 to 50 mainline aircraft from its fleet.

But Chief Executive Richard Anderson is optimistic. "Despite the difficult economic environment, we expect to be solidly profitable in 2009, driven by lower fuel costs, capacity discipline, and merger synergies," he said in a statement.

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