Delta says it has been in contact with the White House and Congress about financial assistance to get through the downturn in air travel as the coronavirus spreads.
“We are in discussions with the White House and Congress regarding the support they can provide to help us through this period. I’m optimistic we will receive their support,” Chief Executive Ed Bastian said in a memo to the Atlanta company's 90,000 employees.
The company also said that it would be canceling flights to Europe.
Bastian went on to say that the speed of the decline in demand is "unlike anything we've seen."
Even before Delta sent its memo, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin told CNBC that the airline industry will be in line for a taxpayer-funded government bailout.
“We will be coming very quickly back on issues dealing with the airline industry,” Mnuchin said Friday. “Just as after Sept. 11, we are very committed to make sure that our U.S. airlines have the ability and have the liquidity to get through this.”
Airline industry executives attended a White House meeting with President Donald Trump last week, but the drop in consumer sentiment has sharpened rapidly since then as panic about the coronavirus has spread.
The NCAA, NBA, NHL, MLB, NFL, PGA and Nascar have all altered their seasons in some way over the past few days, meaning fewer people will be hopping on flights to see their favorite sporting events.
At last check Delta Air shares were 6% higher at $35.74.