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Delta Air Lines Posts Second-Quarter Net Loss

Delta Air Lines on Wednesday reported a $1 billion quarterly loss after special charges, as the airline industry continues to struggle with sky-high fuel prices.

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However, excluding special charges, Delta said it earned $137 million, or 35 cents per share.

Delta, which has agreed to buy Northwest Airlines, reported a second-quarter net loss, including the charges, of $1 billion, or $2.64 per share.

Delta, which said the special charges were mainly for the impairment of goodwill, emerged from bankruptcy at the end of April 2007.

Delta expects to end the year with liquidity of $3.2 billion, including $1 billion under a revolving credit facility.

The airline said it expects its capacity for the second half of 2008 to be down 4 percent compared to 2007, with domestic capacity down 13 percent and international up 14 percent.

The company plans to remove the equivalent of 100 regional aircraft by the end of the year.

U.S. airlines have announced big cutbacks as they grapple with unprecedented oil prices, which have doubled in the past year.

The carriers have been forced to raise fares, introduce fees, cut services, jobs and capacity and target more lucrative international routes.

In March, Delta unveiled plans to cut 2,000 jobs, offering voluntary retirement and "early out" programs, but in June said more than 4,000 employees chose to take part in the programs.

Delta said on Wednesday its merger with Northwest Airlines is targeted to close during the fourth quarter of 2008 and that it has reached a pre-merger joint bargaining agreement between the Delta and Northwest units of the Air Line Pilots Association.

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