Delta Airlines reported a net loss of $5.4 billion in the third quarter, bringing the airline’s total losses during the pandemic to $11 billion.
During the third quarter last year, Delta reported a profit of $1.5 billion, CNBC reported. Most recently, however, the third quarter brought major losses for the airline, which reported a 76% drop in revenue. Revenue dropped from $12.56 billion a year down to $3.06 billion during the third quarter. (RELATED: Airline Group Signs Letter Calling For Europe-US COVID Test-Sharing To Save Industry)
Delta’s daily cash burn has been dropping, going from about $43 million a day in the second quarter to an average of $24 million a day in the third quarter, CNBC reported. In September, the airline reported daily cash burns as low as $18 million a day. Delta Airlines CEO Edward Bastian said that during the fourth quarter, the company expects to get their daily cash burn down to between $10 million and $12 million a day, and could break even or make a profit starting in spring 2021.
Bastian told CNBC that with interest in Thanksgiving and Christmas travel, Delta is seeing “real encouraging signs of improvement.”
Airlines have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, which shut down travel for months. A June report from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) predicted that airlines would lose around $100 billion in two years – $84 billion in 2020 and an additional $15 billion in 2021.
Larger airlines like Delta relied heavily on business travel and international networks, both of which were crushed by the pandemic, according to CNBC.
Demand for travel has been increasing as coronavirus restrictions are slowly being lifted, bur airlines are still struggling to recover from the economic fallout from the pandemic.
In the third quarter, the Transportation and Security Administration (TSA) screened nearly 64 million people at airports in the U.S., which represents a 150% increase from the peak of the pandemic in the second quarter, according to CNBC. The numbers are still much lower than they were during the third quarter last year when the TSA screened 221 million people.