Delta warns investors: 'It may be two years or more' for air travel recovery

Decommissioned and suspended Delta and jetBlue commercial aircrafts are seen stored in Pinal Airpark on May 16, 2020 in Marana, Arizona.

Yet again, Delta Air Lines posted massive quarterly losses --- and the company is warning investors "it may be two years or more" for air travel demand to return to normal.

The airline posted a $2.1 billion operating loss in the third quarter, excluding special items like charges for buyout packages for employees who voluntarily left the company and early retirement of aircraft. Including those items, its net loss topped $5 billion for the second consecutive period.

The third-quarter loss was larger than forecast by Wall Street analysts, and Delta shares fell 3% in premarket trading on the news.

Analysts expect total losses among US airlines to top $10 billion for last quarter, as the pandemic continues to fuel a huge drop in demand. Delta is the first US airline to report results for the quarter.

Delta's revenue also fell 79% compared to the year-ago period. As bad as that is, it's an improvement from the 88% drop in the second quarter.

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