Delta Air Lines resumes dividend suspended in 2020 during pandemic

Reuters | June 15, 2023

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(Reuters) -Delta Air Lines said on Thursday it would pay a quarterly dividend, resuming a payout that the carrier had suspended in March 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The dividend, of $0.10 per share, will be paid on Aug. 7 to shareholders of record as of the close of business July 17, the U.S. airline said.

In December, Southwest Airlines became the first major U.S. airline to reinstate its quarterly dividend, more than two years after suspending it in the wake of the pandemic.

The resumption of Delta’s payout reflects its progress on its three-year financial plan, the airline said, including more than $10 billion of debt repayment over the last two years.

The move comes as Delta forecast that strong summer travel demand will result in higher-than-expected profit for the quarter through June.

As a condition of receiving $54 billion government assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic, airlines were prohibited from paying dividends or repurchasing stock.

Those restrictions expired last fall. Delta Air Lines received $11.9 billion in U.S. assistance.

In March 2020, Delta paid a $0.4025 share dividend, which was its 27th consecutive dividend at the time.

(Reporting by Aishwarya Nair in Bengaluru and David Shepardson in Washington; Editing by Savio D’Souza and Alexander Smith)