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Delta Sees Q1 Loss Nearing $3 Billion, Plans Fleet Additions In Q2

Delta said overall first quarter revenues would come in at the lower end of its prior guidance following softer-than-expected trends in January and February.

Delta Air Lines  (DAL)  said Monday that its current quarter loss could approach $3 billion as overall revenues come in at the lower end of its earlier guidance to investors. 

In a presentation released for the JPMorgan Industrials Conference later today, Delta said revenue trends over the first two months of the year were weaker than forecast, while expenses are likely to fall at a less-than-expected rate as the carrier continues to deal with spillover impacts of the waning coronavirus pandemic.

Delta said that likely means overall revenues will come in at the lower end of its prior forecast for the quarter ending in March. Delta said it expects a daily cash burn rate of around $12 million to $14 million over the first three months of the year, compared to a $12 million average over the fourth quarter, and expects to close out March with around $16.5 billion in overall liquidity. Fleet additions are planned for the June quarter, Delta said.

The carrier's adjusted pre-tax loss could approach $3 billion, Delta said, compared to the $2.1 billion loss it recorded over the final three months of last year.

Shares were supported, however, by data from the Transportation Security Administration over the weekend that showed it has screened 1.36 million airport passengers on Friday, the highest since March 15 of last year, as travelers continued their steady return to the skies amid easing pandemic restrictions and business re-openings heading into the spring holiday period.

Delta shares were marked 3.3% higher in early trading Monday and changing hands at $50.50 each, a move that would extend the stock's six-month gain past 52%.