Delta Airlines

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

Delta Air Lines dodged a bankruptcy filing last fall after concessions from pilots and fresh financing from creditors.

But six months later, the nearly $1.1 billion in loans have been spent and high fuel prices have overshadowed cost-cutting successes. That raises the specter that Chapter Eleven is a possibility again.

In a research note issued yesterday, airline analyst Ray Neidl estimates the nation's third-largest carrier is burning $4 million in cash a day. He says that could drop its unrestricted cash reserves by the end of June to nearly $1.5 billion and by the end of the year to $466 million, dangerous levels for a company with heavy debt and pension funding obligations.

Neidl said in an interview that crunch time for Delta will likely come this fall.

Delta spokeswoman Benet Wilson said she could not comment on the possibility of a Chapter Eleven filing nor elaborate on the airline's earnings results issued last week. At the time, Delta said it lost nearly $1.1 billion in the first quarter, the highest in the industry for the January-March period.

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