Coinciding with a dramatic rise in COVID-19 cases nationwide at the end of 2021, Delta Air Lines said on Thursday that it lost almost $400 million in the final quarter -- and more than $3 billion for the entire year.
The figures were reported for Delta's December quarter and fiscal 2021. For the quarter, the carrier reported a pretax loss of $395 million. For the year, it reported a loss of $3.4 billion on total operating revenue of $9.5 billion.
Despite the loss for the year, however, Delta said it turned a pretax profit of $1.1 billion in the second half of 2021.
"2021 was a year like no other for Delta, with significant progress in our recovery supported by growing brand preference, enabling us to be the only major U.S. airline to deliver profitability across the second half of the year," Delta CEO Ed Bastian said in a statement.
Delta on Thursday also announced a profit-sharing payment for eligible employees based on the second half results.
The spread of the Omicron variant significantly impacted Delta's staffing levels and disrupted air travel worldwide in 2021. Looking ahead, Delta said it expects "a strong spring and summer travel season with significant pent-up demand for consumer and business travel."
Bastian added that Delta's operations have stabilized over the last week and has returned to preholiday performance.
Delta said the 2021 results exclude $3.8 billion in Payroll Support Programs, "partially offset by equity method losses, debt extinguishment charges and special profit-sharing payment."
The airline said it invested almost $3 billion back into the business and reduced financial obligations by $7 billion.
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