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Delta reports wider-than-expected loss but revenue beats, sees positive cash flow in June quarter

Shares of Delta Air Lines Inc. (DAL) rose 0.6% in premarket trading Thursday, after the air carrier reported a wider-than-expected first-quarter loss, but revenue that beat forecasts and said it expects to generate cash in the current quarter and return to profitability in the September quarter. The company swung to a net loss of $1.18 billion, or $1.85 a share, from net income of $730 million, or $1.09 a share, in the same period of 2019, pre-pandemic. Excluding nonrecurring items, such as a $1.2 billion benefit related to the payroll support program extension, the adjusted loss per share was $3.55, compared with the FactSet loss consensus of $3.13. Total revenue came to $4.15 billion, down 60% from the 2019 period, but beat the FactSet consensus of $3.94 billion, as load factor of 45% was in line with expectations. Daily cash burn averaged $11 million for the quarter, but in March the company generated an average of $4 million per day as consumers gained confidence to travel and began buying tickets further out. "A year after the onset of the pandemic, travelers are gaining confidence and beginning to reclaim their lives," said Chief Executive Ed Bastian. "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." The stock has rallied 19.8% year to date through Wednesday, while the U.S. Global Jets ETF (JETS) has advanced 19.9% and the S&P 500 has gained 9.8%.

-Tomi Kilgore; 415-439-6400; AskNewswires@dowjones.com

 

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04-15-21 0904ET

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