Rising fuel costs cause Delta to cut capacity growth forecast
(Bloomberg) -- Delta Air Lines Inc., the world's second-largest carrier, lowered its forecast for growth in available seats this quarter after jet-fuel costs jumped 20 percent in the past 100 days.
Capacity will increase no more than 5 percent in the period, the Atlanta-based airline said Thursday in a U.S. regulatory filing. Two weeks ago, Delta projected growth of 5 percent to 7 percent. The company also said it's "revising full-year plans to reflect new fuel levels," without giving specifics.
Jet fuel prices, which along with labor are airlines' biggest costs, have jumped to $2.75 a gallon, from $2.30 four months ago, Delta said. The carrier will also accelerate retirements of DC9-50 jets, which are 34 years old on average, as well as Saabs and 50-seat regional aircraft.
Delta President Ed Bastian spoke Thursday at an airline conference hosted by Raymond James & Associates in New York.
Delta stock rose 18 cents to $11.53 at 4:15 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The shares have fallen 8.5 percent this year.
United Airlines and Continental Airlines merged in October, surpassing Delta as the world's biggest carrier.