Delta says revenue likely to show growth in 2010

Wed Dec 9, 2009 11:02am EST

* Revenue growth seen in 2010

* No major refleeting of aircraft seen

ATLANTA Dec 9 (Reuters) - Delta Air Lines Inc (DAL.N) said on Wednesday that revenue is continuing to show improvement and is likely to return to growth in the first half of next year.

Chief Financial Officer Hank Halter told a Next Generation Equity Research conference that the world's biggest carrier expects unit revenue to be down 7 percent in the fourth quarter, compared with a previous forecast calling for an 8 percent decline in that measure for the December quarter.

That compares with unit revenue that was down 23 percent in June and off about 11 percent by October.

"When is unit revenue going to go positive? .... I don't want to give a specific date or guidance, but clearly it's going to be in 2010 and likely it's going to be in the front half of 2010," Halter told the equity conference that was broadcast over the Internet.

The company said it now expects a total of $5.1 billion of unrestricted liquidity at year's end, up from a previous forecast of $5 billion.

Halter also said Delta has no plans to announce a "major refleeting of our network in terms of our aircraft," adding that the carrier has 1,400 planes that it expects to upgrade.

Shares of Delta were up 8 cents to $9.96 in morning New York Stock Exchange trading. (Reporting by Karen Jacobs, editing by Gerald E. McCormick)

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