ATLANTA, March 15, 2007– Delta Air Lines announced today that it had filed its election to obtain the benefit of the pension funding relief provided in the Pension Protection Act for its defined benefit retirement plan which covers its active and retired ground employees and flight attendants. Delta employees and retirees fought hard to persuade Congress to include the alternative funding option in the pension reform legislation signed by the president last year.
“Delta employees and retirees were instrumental in championing and fighting for pension legislation reform on Capitol Hill, making it possible for us to preserve benefits earned by our ground employees and flight attendants,” said Edward Bastian, Delta’s executive vice president and chief financial officer. “Our ability to make this election and save this plan is a tribute to their hard work and dedication.”
Delta also announced that it had made a $50 million voluntary contribution to the plan. "We made a commitment to our employees and retirees that we would make this voluntary contribution prior to our exit," Bastian said. “With emergence less than 60 days away, we’re happy to be fulfilling that promise and look forward to introducing a new, competitive retirement package upon exit.”
The $50 million contribution is in addition to the required contributions that Delta will make under the funding schedule authorized by the Pension Protection Act. Under that funding schedule, Delta expects to contribute an additional $50 million during the remainder of 2007, and thereafter make contributions that we expect will average about $100 million per year for the next several years. Both the $50 million voluntary contribution and the ongoing required contributions are included in Delta's business plan.
Delta Air Lines (Other OTC: DALRQ) offers customers service to more destinations than any global airline with Delta and Delta Connection carrier service to 308 destinations in 52 countries. With more than 60 new international routes added in the last year, Delta is America’s fastest growing international airline and is a leader across the Atlantic with flights to 31 trans-Atlantic destinations. To Latin America and the Caribbean, Delta offers more than 600 weekly flights to 58 destinations. Delta's marketing alliances also allow customers to earn and redeem SkyMiles on more than 14,000 flights offered by SkyTeam and other partners. Delta is a founding member of SkyTeam, a global airline alliance that provides customers with extensive worldwide destinations, flights and services. Including its SkyTeam and worldwide codeshare partners, Delta offers flights to 458 worldwide destinations in 99 countries. Customers can check in for flights, print boarding passes and check flight status at delta.com.
Statements in this news release that are not historical facts, including statements regarding our estimates, expectations, beliefs, intentions, projections or strategies for the future, may be “forward-looking statements” as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All forward-looking statements involve a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from the estimates, expectations, beliefs, intentions, projections and strategies reflected in or suggested by the forward-looking statements. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, our ability to prosecute, confirm and consummate our proposed plan of reorganization with respect to the Chapter 11 proceedings; the actions and decisions of our creditors and other third parties with interests in our Chapter 11 proceedings; our ability to obtain court approval with respect to motions in the Chapter 11 proceedings prosecuted from time to time; our ability to obtain and maintain normal terms with vendors and service providers; our ability to maintain contracts that are critical to our operations; risks associated with third parties seeking and obtaining court approval to terminate or shorten the exclusivity period for us to propose and confirm one or more plans of reorganization, to appoint a Chapter 11 trustee or to convert the cases to Chapter 7 cases; the cost of aircraft fuel; the impact that our indebtedness will have on our financial and operating activities and our ability to incur additional debt; the restrictions that financial covenants in our financing agreements will have on our financial and business operations; labor issues; interruptions or disruptions in service at one of our hub airports; our increasing dependence on technology in our operations; our ability to retain management and key employees; restructurings by competitors; the effects of terrorist attacks; and competitive conditions in the airline industry.
Additional information concerning risks and uncertainties that could cause differences between actual results and forward-looking statements is contained in Delta’s Securities and Exchange Commission filings, including its Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2006, filed on March 2, 2007.
Current holders of Delta’s equity will not receive any distributions under Delta’s proposed Plan of Reorganization. These equity interests would be cancelled upon the effectiveness of the proposed Plan of Reorganization. Accordingly, we urge that caution be exercised with respect to existing and future investments in Delta’s equity securities and any of Delta’s liabilities and other securities. Investors and other interested parties can obtain information about Delta’s Chapter 11 filing on the Internet at delta.com/restructure. Court filings, claims information and our proposed Plan of Reorganization are available at deltadocket.com. Caution should be taken not to place undue reliance on Delta’s forward-looking statements, which represent Delta’s views only as of March 15, 2007, and which Delta has no current intention to update.
None of the statements in this press release is a solicitation of votes for or against any plan of reorganization. Any such solicitation will only be made through a disclosure statement approved by the Bankruptcy Court pursuant to section 1125 of the Bankruptcy Code.