Delta announces December quarter, full year 2020 financial report

United States Delta Air Lines has reported financial results for the December quarter and full year 2020 and provided its outlook for the March quarter 2021.

The December quarter financial results released by the airline showed an adjusted pre-tax loss of $2.1 billion excluding nearly $1 billion of items directly related to the impact of, and response to, COVID-19, including charges associated with employee pay and benefit changes, which were offset by the benefit of the CARES Act payroll support program (PSP) grant recognized in the quarter.

While the adjusted operating revenue of $3.5 billion declined 69 per cent on 62 per cent lower sellable capacity versus the prior year period, total operating expense, which included $930 million of items described above, decreased $5.2 billion over the prior year period.

Equally, adjusted for those items and third-party refinery sales, total operating expense decreased $4.6 billion or 47 per cent in the December quarter compared to the prior year period, driven by lower capacity and revenue-related expenses and strong cost management across the business.

In the full year 2020 financial results, adjusted pre-tax loss of $9.0 billion excluded a net of $6.6 billion of items primarily relating to the impact of, and response to, COVID-19 with the adjusted operating revenue of $15.9 billion declining 66 per cent on 61 per cent lower sellable capacity versus the prior year.

Commenting on the development, Delta’s chief executive officer, Ed Bastian declared: “Our December quarter results capped the toughest year in Delta’s history. I want to thank the Delta people who have risen to the occasion, focusing on delivering results for all of our stakeholders by putting our customers at the center of our recovery. While our challenges continue in 2021, I am optimistic this will be a year of recovery and a turning point that results in an even stronger Delta returning to revenue growth, profitability and free cash generation.”

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