Delta pledges loyalty program to raise $6.5 billion

By Tracy Rucinski CHICAGO (Reuters) - Delta Air Lines said on Monday it is seeking to raise $6.5 billion through new bonds and loans backed by its SkyMiles loyalty program, further bolstering liquidity to weather a drastic downturn in travel demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Atlanta-based Delta said it has parked about 40% of its fleet and cut its capacity by about 60% in the September quarter from last year as it continues to burn through $27 million in cash each day.

Reuters September 15, 2020 00:07:37 IST
Delta pledges loyalty program to raise $6.5 billion

Delta pledges loyalty program to raise 65 billion

By Tracy Rucinski

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Delta Air Lines said on Monday it is seeking to raise $6.5 billion through new bonds and loans backed by its SkyMiles loyalty program, further bolstering liquidity to weather a drastic downturn in travel demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Atlanta-based Delta said it has parked about 40% of its fleet and cut its capacity by about 60% in the September quarter from last year as it continues to burn through $27 million in cash each day.

U.S. airlines have cut costs and raised debt to survive what they call an unprecedented industry crisis. Travel demand is hovering around 30% of last year's levels and the situation is not expected to improve until there is a meaningful recovery in demand.

With its latest financing deal, Delta said it will not pursue a $4.6 billion federal loan available under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, although it continues to lobby for a second round of federal payroll grants.

Delta is among U.S. airlines to have tapped funds under a $25 billion made available primarily in grants under the CARES Act to cover employees' payroll through September, but not a separate $25 billion package in secured loans.

The loan program has attractive financing terms but restricts executive compensation and share buybacks.

The airline has said it could furlough nearly 2,000 pilots in October without more federal aid, but believes it can avoid any flight attendant furloughs through the winter thanks to strong demand for voluntary departures or leaves.

Delta had $15.7 billion in liquidity at the end of June, which it said equaled about 19 months of financial runway at a daily burn rate of $27 million.

It still has unencumbered assets worth $6 billion to $7 billion, primarily in the form of spare aircraft parts and engines, if needed, officials said.

Delta did not disclose the value of the loyalty program, or the terms of the new financing, which mirrors a debt deal by United Airlines in June backed by its $20 billion MileagePlus program.

Delta's shares, which have lost about 46% this year, closed at $31.70 on Friday.

(Reporting by Tracy Rucinski; Editing by Ana Nicolaci da Costa and Nick Zieminski)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.