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Delta's Plan To Emerge From Bankruptcy Assumes Higher Oil Prices

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Edward Bastian, chief financial officer for Delta Air Lines, told CNBC's "Squawk Box" that the company’s plan to emerge from bankruptcy assumes oil will be priced at $65 a barrel or higher.

He said the company’s estimate of $800 million in pre-tax profit assumes the price of oil will rise. Oil on the New York Mercantile Exchange recently fetched $64.65 a barrel, up $1.72 on Middle East jitters, including Iran's seizure of 15 British sailors.

“We’re going to be in great shape,” Bastian said Wednesday. “We’ve got our debt pared down considerably. We’re going to have the best cost structure of any of the network carriers in the industry. We’ve got accelerating revenue momentum.”

He said Delta expects to emerge from bankruptcy protection at the end of April or early May. It again will trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DAL.

Bastian said no decision has been made on the future of Comair, Delta’s regional carrier.

“It’s a tough market,” Bastian said. “That’s why we needed to get our balance sheet in place. We had to bring our costs down. It’s also why we’re restructuring our network. We’re moving a lot of our flying out of the domestic market where there is the most amount of price competition and expanding internationally to get a more balanced global network.”

After capital expenditures, Bastian said he expects free cash flow of $1 billion to $1.5 billion a year. Delta has shed older planes, but hasn’t purchased any new aircraft recently. The company is looking at large Boeing planes and smaller, 100-seat aircraft.

“We’ve changed an awful lot about Delta but there are some great opportunities to restore some of our historical legacy with respect to customer service,” Bastian said.