Delta Air Lines Inc., Atlanta, estimated its funding obligation for its combined $6.9 billion pension plans will be $400 million to $450 million this year, according to a news release. The airline also posted a $120 million settlement charge in the fourth quarter related to the carrier's pilots' pension plan because of lump-sum payments to 363 retired pilots. Delta froze the pilots' pension plan as of Dec. 31 and established a new defined contribution plan for pilots on Jan. 1.
Delta posted a fourth-quarter net loss of $2.2 billion, compared with a loss of $332 million in the year-ago quarter. For the year ended Dec. 31, the airline reported a net loss of $5.2 billion, compared with a loss of $790 million for 2003.
Anthony Black, Delta spokesman, did not return a call seeking comment by press time.