* Carrier cites lower last-minute bookings
* Shares fall nearly 8 pct
* Other airline stocks also weak
April 2 Delta Air Lines Inc on Tuesday
cut its first-quarter forecast for a key revenue measure as
March performance weakened from January and February, and its
shares fell nearly 8 percent.
Unit revenue, a measure of pricing power and the extent to
which planes are filled, rose 2 percent in March. That measure,
which is also known as passenger revenue per available seat
mile, had risen 5 percent in February and 5.5 percent in
Delta cited lower last-minute bookings in the wake of U.S.
budget pressures, lower than expected demand and temporary
inefficiencies as it rolled out new revenue management
technology for the March unit revenue performance.
In an investor update filed on Tuesday, Delta said it now
expects a rise of 4 to 4.5 percent in first-quarter unit revenue
compared with the prior year. That compared with a prior view of
a rise of 4.5 to 5.5 percent for the quarter.
Delta said it still expects a profitable first quarter.
System traffic rose 0.1 percent in March as the number of
passengers boarded fell 0.7 percent in the month.
Shares of Delta were down 7.6 percent at $15.02 on Tuesday
morning. Other U.S. airlines were also lower, with United
Continental Holdings down 4.2 percent at $29.67, and US
Airways Group off 4 percent at $16.
(Reporting by Karen Jacobs in Atlanta; editing by Matthew