Delta has posted a massive pre-tax quarterly loss of $5.7 billion and is facing dramatic reductions to both its staff numbers and fleet sizes, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a severe impact on the airline industry.
The world's second-largest airline, and the main carrier from Minneapolis-St. Paul International, says its revenue dropped by more than $11 billion in the 2nd quarter up to the end of June compared to 2019, which "illustrates the truly staggering impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business."
The airline is now losing $27 million a day – and that's after massive cost-cutting that brought it down from an average of $43 million-a-day over the entire quarter.
What's more, Delta CEO Ed Bastian says that he believes it will be "more than two years" before the company sees a "sustainable recovery."
The company is making significant reductions in its workforce too, saying that 17,000 employees have signed up for early retirements or employee buyouts – representing around 20 percent of its staff.
Bastian said he hopes that the departure of these employees, and potentially a "relatively small" number of furloughs, will help the company stave off the need for layoffs, though he concedes that the company is still "overstaffed" in some areas.
The airline has cut its flight schedule significantly in the wake of the travel restrictions and dropping demand during the pandemic. Still in place is a travel ban between the U.S. and the European Union, with little sign of that being lifted imminently.
To that end, Delta is making further cuts to its fleet. Having already announced the retirement of its McDonnell Douglas 88s and 90s and Boeing 777 fleets, Delta will now retire the remainder of its Boeing 737-700s and parts of its 767-300ER and Airbus A320 fleets.
The airline says that its passenger numbers were down 93 percent year-on-year.