Delta predicts soaring fuel prices will lead to fourth-quarter pre-tax loss

©Delta Air Lines

Delta Air lines has predicted that the current surge in fuel prices will result in a substantial fourth-quarter pre-tax loss. In the third quarter fuel costs alone accounted for nearly 20% of Delta’s adjusted operating expenses. However, the North American carrier remains optimistic for the fourth quarter with an anticipated positive demand for both international and corporate travel once the United States reopens its borders in November to fully vaccinated travelers from 33 countries, including China and the majority of Europe. Third-quarter revenue from transatlantic travel was at 35% level of the comparable period in 2019, the airline said.

Delta is the first major U.S. airline to report financial results and has forecast adjusted fuel price per gallon at between US$2.25 and US$2.40 for the fourth quarter. The adjusted fuel price per gallon was US$1.94 in the last quarter. Adjusted operating revenue for Q3 2021 fell 34% to US$8.28 billion from 2019 as a fast-spreading COVID variant cut demand for air travel in August and early September. Net income dropped to US$1.21 billion, or US$1.89 per share, in the three months ended September 30 from US$1.50 billion, or US$2.31 per share, in 2019. Excluding items, the company earned US$194 million, or 30 cents per share.

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