Delta Air Lines

(DAL) - Get Report

wants to give bondholders more time to think about trading in some $2.6 billion of unsecured debt for $680 million worth of new secured notes.

The company said Friday that it was extending its debt exchange offer, which originally was set to expire at 5 p.m. yesterday, until next Tuesday. Terms remain unchanged.

Shares fell 21 cents, or 3%, to $6.76.

Delta is offering holders of $330 million of short-term pass-through certificates new 9.5% senior secured notes due 2008; holders of $1.07 billion of intermediate securities new 10% senior secured notes due 2011; and holders of $1.25 billion of long-term debt new 12% senior secured notes due 2014.

Although Delta has received enough tenders to satisfy the short-term part of the exchange, it said this past Monday that it didn't expect the intermediate- and long-term portions to be successful. Last month the company amended and extended the exchange offer after a lackluster initial response.

So far, Delta has received tenders of $256.8 million of the short-term securities, $86.5 million of the intermediate-term, and $263.4 million of the long-term.

The nation's third-largest airline has struggled as sky-high fuel prices have driven up expenses, and as a glut of capacity and tough price competition have made it tough for airlines to raise fares. Delta is scrambling to put into place various pieces of a restructuring program designed to stave off a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing.

Although the airline secured a crucial piece of that program last week, when pilots agreed to concessions valued at $1 billion a year, Delta has recently said it still has pressing liquidity needs.