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Delta (DAL) Plans to Add to Summer Capacity on Some Positives

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Per Reuters, Delta Air Lines DAL expects to increase its summer capacity amid signs of improvement in domestic travel demand.

Earlier in the week, the company’s CEO Edward Bastian stated that he hopes to add around 200 flights in June and another 200 or 300 flights in July.

Presently, the carrier’s load factor (percentage of seats filled by passengers) is “somewhere about 35-40% full”. Once the airline is able to hit the 60% mark in any single route, it will start adding “more planes into the system."

Per Bastian, U.S. travel is still "slow" but a recovery can be expected in the next 12 to 18 months. However, international travel may not rebound until 2021.

To comply with social distancing norms amid coronavirus concerns, Delta, carrying a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold), has capped passenger load to only 60% of the total number of seats. Additionally, the airline is undertaking efforts to sanitize aircraft in order to encourage passengers to travel.

You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Due to the coronavirus-driven travel woes, shares of Delta have plunged more than 58% since the beginning of February.


Earlier in the month, the carrier decided to permanently retire its Boeing 777 fleet by the end of this year as part of its efforts to reduce costs amid coronavirus-related challenges. The Atlanta-GA based airline, which is currently burning $50 million cash per day, aims to reduce its cash burn rate to zero by the end of this year. While United Airlines UAL anticipates daily cash burn (on average) in the $40-$45 million range during the second quarter of 2020, American Airlines AAL expects the same to be roughly $70 million per day. Meanwhile Alaska Air Group ALK aims for a monthly cash burn rate of $200 million in June.

While United Airlines and Alaska Air Group carry a Zacks Rank #3, American Airlines carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).

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