Delta Air Lines 737-900. Courtesy, Boeing

Delta Air Lines (DL) said will cut capacity by 5% on transatlantic routes in the fourth quarter as a “proactive measure” against high fuel costs and a weakening euro. It will also reduce Pacific capacity by 1%-2%.

“Transatlantic for us continues to do well, however, we believe with the headwinds that we do see, the fact that the euro is now weakened … coupled with the risks that fuel prices could spike on us at any time, we’d rather get out in front and manage that proactively,” DL president Ed Bastian during the 2012 Bank of America Merrill Lynch global transportation conference. “We're not seeing any signs of weakness per se in any one region.”

For the full year, DL estimates its system capacity will be down 3%-4%, instead of its previous forecast of 2%-3%.

In the first quarter, DL’s consolidated traffic rose 1% to 43.35 billion RPMs while capacity dropped 3% to 54.41 billion ASMs, producing a load factor of 79.7%, up 3.3 points (ATW Daily News, April 26).