Delta Air Lines, Inc. (NYSE:DAL) Q2 2019 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript

Jul 11, 2019 • 10:00 am ET

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Delta Air Lines, Inc. (NYSE:DAL) Q2 2019 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript

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Q & A
Operator
Operator

Yes. (Operator Instructions) We will begin with Mike Linenberg with Deutsche Bank.

Analyst
Mike Linenberg

Yeah. Hey, good morning, everyone. Yeah. So, I have one and one follow-up. Just I guess the first one to Glen, you called out the strength in Boston, and I think over this last quarter, I think Boston was maybe officially anointed a hub. I think there was also some press out about maybe some other focus cities like Nashville and Austin. As we think about your domestic capacity growth in 2019 Glen, will more of it be allocated to these focus cities, or newer hubs, or how should we think about the split across your system?

Executive
Glen Hauenstein

Great question, Mike. I think Boston is a true focus city for us that we have commitments over the next year, year-and-a-half to take our departure levels up towards 200. Those of you who are familiar with our Boston operation, we have shared our terminal with various carriers over the year and we will take over the entire terminal starting late this summer, will allow us to continue to grow in Boston.

And what we've been focused on is, making our hubs more efficient, so we can drive higher earnings and targeting those cities that are high growth in Boston, Seattle, Austin, Nashville and Raleigh all fit that profile of cities, where growth and growth for air travel is significantly higher than they are across the system in general. So, that's really been our thoughts to continue to grow, where markets are growing and to continue to make our existing hubs more efficient.

Analyst
Mike Linenberg

Okay, great. And then just jumping over to Paul, on the pension, the 500 million contribution. Is there any more -- are you required to contribute more this year? Or it sounds like maybe you've -- you went above and beyond what you were required to? And where is that? What's the funded status of the pension at this point, if you could? Thanks.

Executive
Paul Jacobson

Hey, good morning, Mike. Thanks for the question. So, the all of the contributions that we've made are voluntary, as we've talked about at Investor Day with airline relief, we have fully completed all of our required funding through 2024, but we remain committed to try to achieve an 80% funded status by the end of 2020. Right now we're in the low to mid-70s. The plan is performing very well in line with equity markets globally, and we expect to be a good year on the return front.

Analyst
Mike Linenberg

Great. Thank you.

Operator
Operator

We will now move to the next question, and that will come from Jamie Baker with JPMorgan.

Analyst
Jamie Baker

Hey, good morning everybody. Yeah, first question either for Glen or Jill, it's a hypothetical. If you had a substantive portion of your fleet grounded right now, from an operational perspective, what would be the most intelligent and profitable way for Delta to reintroduce aircraft in a manner that wouldn't prove detrimental to RASM? Simply a hypothetical, how would Delta phase grounded aircraft back and do