Delta Air Lines lost $408 million in the final quarter of 2021, dragged down by a COVID-19 surge that rocked the airline in December, and the carrier predicted Thursday that it will suffer one more quarterly loss before travel perks up in spring and summer.
CEO Ed Bastian said 8,000 employees have contracted COVID-19 over the last four weeks. Sick workers and winter storms have led to more than 2,200 cancelled flights since Dec. 24.
Cancellations have dropped sharply in the past few days, but the spate of spiked flights cost the airline $75 million and the latest outbreak, caused by the omicron variant of the virus, is expected to push the industry’s recovery back by two months.
“I don’t think we’re going to see a pickup in bookings or travel during January and probably the first part of February,” Bastian said in an interview. “It’s always the weakest part of the year, and it’s going to be that much weaker because of omicron. We need confidence in travel returning once the virus recedes.”
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