Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL) has reportedly raised a fresh $1 billion in added liquidity via sales of aircraft it will then lease back from the buyers.
The airline is scrambling to boost its balance sheet as travel demand has dried up due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Delta warned earlier this month it is bleeding through $60 million a day and expects second-quarter revenue to fall 90% year over year.
But the company does have billions in unencumbered assets and is apparently looking to tap some of those assets for cash. Citing unnamed sources, Bloomberg reported Tuesday that Delta will raise about $750 million in proceeds from selling jets to BBAM Aircraft Leasing & Management, and another $250 million from Altavair AirFinance.
The reported deal highlights just how desperate airlines are for cash, as well as the resources at their disposal to add liquidity to the balance sheet. Delta last month obtained a new $2.6 billion term loan that can grow to $4 billion, while drawing down $3 billion under existing facilities.
Shares of Delta are down 58% year to date. The airline is likely to report miserable first-quarter results this month, and the second-quarter outlook is bleak, but if the pandemic can be contained and the U.S. economy begins to recover into the summer months, Delta can weather the storm even in a recessionary environment throughout the rest of 2020.