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Delta turned record profit into a record loss in one year

January 14, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 40%. 1 min read.

Delta Air Lines closed the books on the worst year in its history.

Thursday, Delta reported a record $6. 8 billion loss for 2020, excluding special items.

Including those items, its net loss for the year was $12. 4 billion.

A year earlier, Delta had reported record revenue and operating profits.

Delta, the first major air carrier to report fourth-quarter results, has been hammered along with the rest of the industry with the near halt in air travel caused by the Covid-19 pandemic earlier in the year.

Although air travel picked up in the fourth quarter as people traveled for the holiday season, it was still only at a fraction of year-earlier levels.

Delta's revenue plunged $7. 5 billion, or 65%, during the quarter, leaving it down $29. 9 billion for the full year.

That resulted in a fourth quarter loss of $1. 6 billion, excluding special items.

In 2019, Delta recorded a full-year operating profit of $4. 8 billion, leading it to pay employees a record $1. 6 billion in profit sharing bonuses.

Delta ended the year with $10. 1 billion in cash on hand, compared with $3. 7 billion a year earlier, even after it burned through $8. 3 billion in cash in the fourth quarter.

US airlines have reported combined losses of $24. 2 billion, excluding special items, during the first nine months of 2020.

All the major airlines are forecast to report losses in the fourth quarter.

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