Delta Reports $6.4 Billion Loss in First Quarter

Delta Air Lines, the nation's third-largest carrier, says its loss widened in the first quarter to a whopping $6.39 billion (euro4 billion) due to soaring fuel prices and the steep decline in the company's market value.

The results badly missed Wall Street expectations, despite a 12 percent increase in sales.

The Atlanta-based company said Wednesday the loss is equivalent to $16.15 (euro10.14) a share. That compares with a loss of $130 million that Delta reported in the year-ago January-March quarter, when it was still in bankruptcy.

Excluding special items, primarily a $6.1 billion (euro3.83 billion) non-cash charge relating to the decline in Delta's market value due to sustained record fuel prices, the airline lost $274 million (euro171.99 million), or 69 cents a share, in the first quarter.

Analysts expected a loss of 49 cents a share, excluding one-time items.