Delta Air Lines reported on Tuesday (Oct. 13) that daily cash burn averaged $24 million for the September quarter, with an average of $18 million for the month of September, as its results demonstrated the magnitude of the pandemic’s impact on its business.

CEO Ed Bastian said on a call with analysts that the air carrier is “20 percent smaller than we were at the start of this year, having reduced our fleet, our headcount and our overhead.”

However, President Glen Hauenstein said that corporate demand has exhibited signs of modest improvement. “Corporate volumes are trending upward across all industries, and we expect this to continue into 2021,” he said.

The executive also noted that international demand remains weak aside from the Caribbean and Mexico, which is largely the result of government-imposed restrictions in key markets.

As the company approaches the holiday travel period, Hauenstein said it has been pleased with recent booking trends. He noted that the firm is increasing capacity around peak leisure periods such as Christmas and Thanksgiving, and decreasing during off-peak times such as the election week and Halloween.

He also noted that the company’s non-ticket business held up relatively well during the quarter, with loyalty and cargo outperforming passenger revenues.

Delta is emphasizing health and safety with the Delta CareStandard, an approach that includes intense cleaning procedures, blocking middle seats and requiring masks onboard all planes.

Furthermore, the company has announced plans to speed up retirements of almost 400 planes by 2025.

As for its overall results, Delta reported an adjusted loss per share of $3.30 on total revenue of $3.1 billion. Analysts had been expecting a loss per share of $3 on revenues of $3.11 billion.

“While we still have a long road ahead of us when you look through the large toll that the pandemic has taken, we are showing progressive improvement across the business, performing well on factors within our control and ensuring the company is well-positioned as demand starts to return,” Bastian said.



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