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(Reuters) – Delta Air Lines Inc (DAL.N) reported on Wednesday its first quarterly loss in eight years as the coronavirus crisis devastates air travel demand, but said its daily cash burn would slow through June as it braces for a recovery that could take two to three years.”We should be prepared for a choppy, sluggish recovery even after the virus is contained,” Chief Executive Ed Bastian said in an employee memo on Wednesday.
FILE PHOTO: Delta Air Lines passenger planes are seen parked due to flight reductions made to slow the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport in Birmingham, Alabama, U.S. March 25, 2020. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage
In a matter of months, U.S. airlines like Delta have gone from expansion to survival, searching for ways to raise and save as much cash as possible as flight cancellations started outnumbering new bookings around mid-March.
By the end of the quarter, passenger volumes had dropped by as much as 95 percent and Delta was burning $100 million per day.
After a series of cost-cutting measures and capital raisings, including a government bailout, the airline’s daily cash burn will slow to about $50 million by the end of June, it said, when it expects to have $10 billion in liquidity.
It had $6 billion in liquidity in March.
Delta shares rose 4.1% in premarket trading, with Cowen analyst Helane Becker pointing to cash conservation as “the name of the game” for airlines in the near term.
Atlanta-based Delta said
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