Delta posts nearly $1.2 billion quarterly loss, expects to break even in June as bookings improve

A Delta Airlines Boeing 757-251 approaches Washington Ronald Reagan National Airport (DCA) in Arlington, Virginia on February 24, 2021.
Daniel Slim | AFP | Getty Images

Delta Air Lines on Thursday reported another quarterly loss but said it expects to reach break even in June as travel demand rebounds from a deep pandemic slump.

Here’s how Delta performed in the first quarter compared with what Wall Street expected, based on average estimates compiled by Refinitiv:

  • Adjusted results per share: a loss of $3.55 versus an expected loss of $3.17 a share
  • Total revenue: $4.15 billion versus expected $3.91 billion in revenue

Delta and its competitors continue to lose money but have grown upbeat about an improvement in bookings as more travelers are vaccinated, travel restrictions lift and more attractions reopen. Delta said domestic leisure bookings are at 85% of 2019 levels, though international and business travel demand remains depressed.

The Atlanta-based carrier posted a net loss of $1.18 billion on $4.15 billion in revenue for the first quarter, topping analyst estimates for sales of $3.91 billion. Revenue was down 60% compared with the $10.47 billion Delta generated in the first quarter of 2019. On an adjusted basis, Delta posted a loss of $3.55 a share compared with a forecast of $3.17 per share.

Cash burn averaged $11 million a day in the quarter but turned positive last month to $4 million a day, Delta said.

“A year after the onset of the pandemic, travelers are gaining confidence and beginning to reclaim their lives. Delta is accelerating into the recovery with our brand stronger and more trusted than ever before,” Delta CEO Ed Bastian said in an earnings release. “If recovery trends hold, we expect positive cash generation for the June quarter and see a path to return to profitability in the September quarter as the demand recovery progresses.”

Delta said it expects second-quarter revenue to be 50% to 55% lower than the same period of 2019 on scheduled capacity that’s a third lower than two years ago. Its expenses, stripping out the cost of fuel, will be up 6% to 9% this quarter, it said.

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

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