Delta Air Lines Inc., Atlanta, this year plans to contribute $275 million to its defined benefit plans and $110 million to its defined contribution plans, according to the carrier's annual report, filed today with the SEC. Delta officials estimate the company's 2005 pension expense at $440 million, the filing said. The plans have a combined $6.8 billion in assets.
The airline contributed $455 million to its pension plans in 2004. The annual report said the airline paid $251 million in settlement charges in 2004 related to the pilots' pension plan "due to a significant increase in pilot retirements." Delta froze the pilots' pension plan as of Dec. 31 and established a new defined contribution plan for pilots on Jan. 1.
Company officials believe the airline will incur a "substantial net loss in 2005" and that cash flows from operations will not be sufficient to meet all the carrier's liquidity needs for the year, the filing said.