ATLANTA – Delta Air Lines Inc. has abandoned plans to add at least $4 billion of Boeing and Embraer jets tied to a proposed contract agreement that was rejected by union pilots.
The accord for 40 new Boeing 737-900ERs and 20 Embraer E190s is now off, Delta said Wednesday after reporting second-quarter earnings that beat analysts' estimates. Members of the Air Line Pilots Association at Delta, the least-unionized major U.S. carrier, spurned the labor deal last week.
"Those orders will be canceled," Chief Executive Officer Richard Anderson said on a conference call without elaborating.
Delta's announcement punctuated a day in which it posted adjusted earnings of $1 billion, slowed growth in seating capacity for the rest of 2015 and saw its stock slump after forecasting that revenue for each seat flown a mile would fall more than some analysts had estimated.
The capacity pullback responds to analysts' urgings for slower growth as airlines struggle to charge more. At the same time, the Justice Department is investigating whether the major carriers are colluding to boost airfares.
Available seating will rise by 3 percent this quarter, Delta said.
Excluding some items, earnings of $1.27 per share exceeded the $1.21 average estimate among 16 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Sales were $10.7 billion, compared with a consensus analyst estimate of $10.6 billion.
Delta's weak third-quarter forecast for revenue from each seat flown a mile — down 4.5 percent to 6.5 percent — may be weighing on the stock, said Michael Derchin, an analyst with CRT Capital Group.
"That's the only thing negative I see," Derchin said. "Otherwise, there's a lot of positives in the report."
A 39 percent drop in jet kerosene prices buoyed earnings in the three months ending in June and will continue to do so in the current period, Anderson said in a statement. Delta saved $463 million on fuel compared with the same period last year.
Delta expects its cuts on capacity to help "stem the erosion" in unit revenues, President Ed Bastian said in the statement. Available seating at Atlanta-based Delta rose by as much as 5 percent in the first three months of this year.