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Weekend airline updates: Delta burning $60m a day

written by Dylan Nicholson | April 6, 2020

Delta is “burning” through $60 million each day and the worst is yet to come, according to a letter sent from chief executive Ed Bastian to staff.

“As we move into April, we continue to see our passenger volumes and revenues drop,” Bastian wrote. “For example, on Saturday we had about 38,000 customers flying, versus our normal late-March Saturday of 600,000. Unfortunately, even as Delta is burning more than $60 million in cash every day, we know we still haven’t seen the bottom.

“We continue to shrink our network as demand falls and will operate just enough flying to maintain essential services. This month our schedule will be at least 80 per cent smaller than originally planned, with 115,000 flights cancelled.

Four engines for long haul – Boeing 747s will continue to serve as key long-haul aircraft for the foreseeable future. (Delta Air Lines)
Delta has warned it’s “burning” through $60m a day. Pictured here its Boeing 747. (Delta Air Lines)

“I wish I could predict this would end soon, but the reality is we simply don’t know how long it will take before the virus is contained and customers are ready to fly again.”

Delta also predicted the year’s second quarter will bring worse news with no end to the crisis in near sight.

“We are expecting our revenue in the second quarter to be down 90 per cent. Without the self-help actions we are taking to save costs and raise new financing, that money would be gone by June.”

Other weekend airline news includes:

  • American carrier Southwest Airlines logged 56 flights that took off without any passengers according to memo sent to staff.
  • On 1 April, Air New Zealand flew 20 flights with only one passenger onboard. Things did not improve on Thursday, 2 April. As One Mile at a Time notes, Air New Zealand averaged under two passengers per flight.
  • The government of Portugal has decided to close all the country’s airports over the busy Easter period in an attempt to stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
  • Sweden’s Braathens Regional Airlines will tomorrow suspend all of its flights until the start of June. The airline was attempting to keep services going but new government guidelines have left the airline with no traveling customers.
  • United Airlines has implemented a drastically reduced flight schedule at both LaGuardia and Newark Liberty International. As a result of severely reduced demand, the airline will be operating at just 10 per cent of its usual capacity in New York.
  • British Airways is deploying its employees to the front lines of the battle against coronavirus in the UK. The airline has set up a company-wide taskforce of employees who have a variety of skills to offer charities, non-profit organisations, and the NHS.
  • Austrian Airlines has confirmed that it is temporarily suspending flight operations through 3 May 2020. The extension is due to the restrictions being imposed by governments around the world to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.


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