Delta Air Lines Inc., which is operating under bankruptcy court protection, blamed high fuel costs Thursday as it reported a wider third-quarter loss of $1.13 billion and said it is concerned it continues to use borrowed money to fund its red ink.
The nation's third-largest carrier also said its pilots are wrong in their contention that nearly $91 million a year in concessions they are offering is enough to help the struggling carrier return to profitability and compete with discount rivals. The quarterly results, announced after the market closed, missed Wall Street expectations and came despite a solid gain in revenue.
Delta's loss widened from a loss of $646 million in the third quarter last year. Delta also paid $4 million in dividends to preferred shareholders in the latest quarter.
Excluding one-time reorganization and other special items, Delta said it lost $438 million in the third quarter.
Delta's earnings release and accompanying financial tables did not include per-share figures. A company spokeswoman said using per-share figures was inappropriate because Delta is in bankruptcy protection. The existing stock probably will become worthless when the company emerges from Chapter 11.
Revenue in the quarter rose 8.9 percent, to $4.22 billion from $3.87 billion.
The third-quarter loss brings Delta's red ink to just over $11 billion since January 2001. The airline filed for Chapter 11 protection on Sept. 14 in New York.
"While we are pleased with the level of post-petition financing we were able to obtain, we must stop using borrowed money to fund our losses," said Edward H. Bastian, Delta's chief financial officer.
Delta's comments about its pilots came a day after the pilots union disclosed in a bankruptcy court filing what it is offering the company in concessions. But Delta wants $325 million a year in concessions from its 6,000 pilots and is asking the bankruptcy court to reject the pilot contract to allow Delta to impose the cuts unilaterally.
A showdown in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York looms, with a hearing set for Wednesday to discuss the company's motion to reject the pilot contract.
Associated Press writer Madlen Read contributed to this report from New York.