| USA TODAY
Multiple major US airlines drop change fees on domestic tickets
Delta Air Lines, American Airlines and Alaska Airlines have all joined United Airlines in ditching change fees for flights within the U.S.
Delta Air Lines posted a massive $5.4 billion loss for the quarter that ended Sept. 30, results showing how the coronavirus pandemic is wrecking the airline industry.
Delta, the first of the largest airlines to report earnings for the quarter, said it plans to take additional steps cut its losses and conserve its remaining cash, including retiring 400 aircraft and delaying taking new planes.
Though its losses are staggering, the company said it still has $21.6 billion in reserve to try to get it through the crisis.
“While our September quarter results demonstrate the magnitude of the pandemic on our business, we have been encouraged as more customers travel and we are seeing a path of progressive improvement in our revenues, financial results and daily cash burn,” said CEO Ed Bastian in a statement.
Bastian added that “the actions we are taking now to take care of our people, simplify our fleet, improve the customer experience, and strengthen our brand will allow Delta to accelerate into a post-COVID recovery.”
The loss served as a counterpoint to the $1.5 billion profit that the airline earned in the same quarter a year ago before the pandemic hit. The quarter is usually closely watched in the airline industry because it includes the busy summer vacation season.
Passenger revenues declined 83% during the quarter as the airline dramatically cut its flight schedule, offering 63% fewer seats than the same period last year. Delta’s cargo operations were down but by not as much, off 25%.
Delta’s president, Glen Hauenstein, predicted that recovery may take two more years until revenues return to normal.
“With a slow and steady build in demand, we are restoring flying to meet our customers’ needs, while staying nimble with our capacity in light of COVID-19,” Hauenstein said.