Delta Air Lines, Northwest Report In: Don’t Believe Those Scary Headline Numbers


Look, granted the airline industry is, with the exception of Southwest Airlines, losing money hand over fist this quarter. But it’s not losing THAT much.

Perusing the usual headlines online, one would think that Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines posted a combined loss of more than $10 billion dollars for the first quarter.

No, they lost money, but not quite that much.

Those totals include some accounting hocus pocus “goodwill” write-offs. More on all that in a minute.

But first — here is a rundown on the numbers that matter.

Excluding reorganization and special items, Delta Air Lines posted a loss of $274 million, or $0.69 today. Northwest posted a loss of $191 million or $0.78.

Both losses were larger than what analysts had expected. Analysts’ forecasted EPS for Delta was a loss of $0.51, while they had Northwest pegged for a 34 cent loss.

So no, neither airline posted good numbers.

As for those big billion dollar write offs — Delta took a $6.1 billion non-cash charge and Northwest took a $3.9 billion non-cash charge. These are paper losses that are related to the drop in market caps for each stock, and are related to each airline’s Fresh Start accounting that both began this spring, as a result of their exiting bankruptcy protection. Essentially we’re talking about Monopoly money. Not important in the big scheme of things.

Technorati Tags: , , ,