Delta ( DAL) followed other network airlines, losing money in the global recession as combined revenue following its merger with Northwest fell 23%.

Excluding items, the second-quarter net loss was $199 million, or 24 cents a share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had estimated a loss of 29 cents. Revenue was $7 billion, slightly ahead of an estimated $6.9 billion.

Including $58 million in one-time merger related costs, the net loss was $257 million, or 31 cents a share. Excluding merger-related expenses and $390 million in realized fuel hedge losses, Delta would have earned $191 million.

"The global recession continues to significantly impact our business and we are not planning for any meaningful recovery this year," said President Ed Bastian in a prepared statement. "In view of this revenue environment, we are focused on maintaining high levels of liquidity, generating a revenue premium, and maintaining our unit cost advantage."

During the quarter, total revenue per available seat mile declined 17%. PRASM declined 20%, driven by a 19% decline in yield. PRASM fell 26.2% in the Atlantic and 25.3% in the Pacific. Operating revenue for the combined carriers declined by $2.1 billion or 23%. The estimated impact of the H1N1 virus was $125 million to $150 million.

On the cost side, cost per available seat mile excluding fuel and special items rose 2%, due to higher pension expense, on a 7% decline in capacity. A reduction in fuel costs resulted in a $1.9 billion decrease in operating expense.

As of June 30, Delta had $5.4 billion in unrestricted liquidity, including $500 million available under an undrawn line of credit. Delta generated $834 million in cash from operations, and $509 million in free cash flow for the quarter. The carrier projects it will have $5 billion in total liquidity as of Sept. 30.

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