Shares of Delta Air Lines Inc. (NYSE: DAL) touched a new 52-week low of $9.31 on Wednesday. The company said its load factor for the month of March declined 4.5 percentage points to 79.7 percent from 84.2 percent last year.
The Atlanta, Georgia-based airline said its system traffic for March increased 0.5 percent to 16.14 billion revenue passenger miles or RPMs from 16.06 billion RPMs last year. System capacity for March rose 6.2 percent to 20.26 billion available seat miles or ASMs from 19.08 billion ASMs last year.
The company said shortly after the March 11 earthquake and subsequent tsunami that it was pulling down its Japan capacity by 15 percent to 20 percent through May 2011 to reflect the likely decrease in short-term demand as well as soaring fuel costs.
Delta would also suspend its services to Tokyo's Haneda airport and pull back on capacity between Narita Airport and the beach destinations. The company said it will selectively upgauge Asia over-flights and increase charter operations.
Nevertheless, the company said its solid financial foundation and low cost structure, coupled with improved risk profile, positions it to effectively address impact of high fuel prices and events in Japan. At current fuel prices of between $3.05 and $3.10 per gallon, Delta's fuel expense will be driven up by $3 billion or 35 percent over 2010.
Delta's preliminary estimates reveal a net negative impact of between $250 million and $400 million on its business in Japan for the full-year 2011. The effects of the events in Japan have already reduced Delta's revenue by about $50 million in the first quarter, the company noted.
Japan is a core part of our global network and we are committed to finding ways to help those in need following last week's devastating earthquake. Delta's 1,200 employees in Japan, backed by the support of 80,000 worldwide, are rallying together to do what we can to make a difference and we encourage our customers to join us by donating money or miles to our dedicated charities, Senior Vice President of Asia-Pacific Vinay Dube said.
Delta plans a June resumption of flights from Detroit and Los Angeles to Haneda, where it suspended service in late March, a Bloomberg report quoted a spokesman Trebor Banstetter as saying. The flights have been loaded in its schedule for at least a week.
Delta Air Lines stock stock gapped open sharply higher April 6 at $9.79 compared to previous day's close of $9.70. But, the stock touched a new low of $9.31 on Wednesday.
The stock closed Wednesday's regular trading down 1.13 percent at $9.59 on the NYSE with a volume of 20.998 million shares. In the after-hours, the stock further declined 0.94 percent to $9.50. The stock traded between $9.31 and $14.94 during the past 52 weeks.