Delta books first-quarter loss after burning $100 million in money an afternoon throughout coronavirus shuttle droop


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Planes belonging to Delta Air Lines sit idle at Kansas City International Airport on April 03, 2020 in Kansas City, Missouri.

Jamie Squire | Getty Images

Delta Air Lines‘ on Wednesday posted a pretax loss of $607 million for the first quarter and issued a bleak forecast for this spring as the coronavirus saps travel demand.

The Atlanta-based carrier’s revenues plunged 18% in the quarter to $8.6 billion. CEO Ed Bastian said second-quarter revenue will likely fall 90% on the year.

Airlines are among the industries hit hardest by coronavirus and harsh measures to stop it from spreading, like stay-at-home orders. Carriers including Delta were granted a portion of $25 billion in government grants and loans dedicated to paying employees through Sept. 30.

On an adjusted basis, Delta reported a per-share loss of 51 cents, compared with analysts’ estimates for a 70 cent per-share loss in the first quarter. Delta shares were up 2.6% in premarket trading.

The airline spent the quarter shoring up cash and slashing expenses to combat the sharp drop in revenue. It burned through $100 million a day at the end of March, a rate it expects to halve by the end of the second quarter.

Delta raised $5.4 billion since the end of March, including a $3 billion term loan and $1.2 billion from aircraft sale leasebacks. It also drew down $3 billion of an existing credit facility and cut planned capital expenditures by the same amount.

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