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

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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