Delta posts first quarterly loss since 2010

Cargo loaded in side door of white jetliner.

Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL) posted a $422 million pre-tax loss, or $0.51 per share, in the first quarter, for its first quarterly loss in almost a decade. 

Delta is the first passenger airline to report operating results in the coronavirus era. The second quarter financial picture is shaping up even worse since the full effects of shutdowns and travel restrictions because of the novel coronavirus didn’t materialize until March.

Delta’s total revenue clocked in at $8.6 billion, down 18% compared to the prior year, with total unit revenue down 13%. Cargo revenue fell 21% to $152 million.

Analyst consensus was for earnings per share of $0.83 and $9.5 billion in revenue.

The carrier said total expense decreased $450 million driven by lower fuel prices, but offset by a 9% increase in non-fuel unit costs. Fuel expenses decreased 19% compared to the same 2019 period. Delta paid an average of $1.81 per gallon, which included a $29 billion benefit from its own refinery operation in Philadelphia.

At the end of March, Delta had $6 billion in liquidity.