Delta: Atlanta power outage cost it up to $50 million

Key Points
  • A power outage at Atlanta's main airport cost Delta up to $50 million.
  • The airline reported higher fuel costs in the fourth quarter.
  • Shares were on track for their biggest one-day decline in more than two months.
With the U.S. Capitol dome in the distance, a Delta airplane takes off from Ronald Reagan National Airport in Washington, DC.
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Shares of Delta Air Lines fell Wednesday after the carrier reported higher costs and multimillion-dollar revenue losses from a crippling power outage in Atlanta.

Last month's half-day power outage at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Delta's hub and the busiest airport in the world, cost it $25 million to $50 million in pretax revenue, the airline said.

Airlines canceled more than 1,400 flights because of the Dec. 17 blackout, which was caused by a fire that damaged an underground power source for the airport and its backup.

Delta shares were down 2.4 percent at $55.37 in midday trading, on track for their biggest one-day percentage decline in more than two months.

Delta rose nearly 14 percent last year, the second-biggest gain of the big U.S. airlines. Southwestshares climbed more than 31 percent in 2017.

Like its rivals, Delta is grappling with higher fuel and labor costs. The airline said more expensive fuel ate into its operating margin last quarter, bringing it to an expected 11 percent.

Despite the challenges, Delta said unit revenue, the amount it collects for each seat it flies, likely rose about 4 percent in busy, holiday-filled December, from a year earlier.