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Delta Posts Loss on Higher Fuel Costs

Delta expects that it can effectively manage any decline because it has a continuing flexibility to further reduce capacity.

The carrier also benefits from a broad international route structure and from a minimal presence in the New York-London Heathrow market, which has been hit by financial market turmoil, said Executive Vice President Glenn Hauenstein. "Delta has by far the most diverse international portfolio," he said. "We are largest to the Mideast, largest to Africa. Those economies are quite robust right now."

During the quarter, passenger revenue per available seat mile rose 9%, as capacity fell by 1%. Looking ahead, Delta projected a fourth-quarter operating margin of 1% to 3%, with revenue per available seat mile up 8% to 10%.

As of Sept. 30, Delta had $3.1 billion in cash and cash equivalents. The carrier had $818 million in the troubled Reserve Primary Fund: it has taken a $13 million impairment charge, but expects a full recovery of its money.

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