Delta Wants More Time to Finish Chapter 11 Plan

ATLANTA_Delta Air Lines Inc., which is operating under bankruptcy protection, asked for court permission Monday to delay the deadline by which the company has to exclusively file its reorganization plan and to solicit acceptance of that plan.

The Atlanta-based airline said the extension - its fourth such request - from April 16 to June 1 is necessary because a confirmation hearing on its Chapter 11 plan is scheduled for April 25, after the current deadline.

Delta, the third-largest U.S. carrier, is seeking to prevent other competing plans from being filed until after it has a chance to finish soliciting votes on its plan, which calls for the airline to emerge from bankruptcy in the spring as a standalone carrier.

Delta said it is not making the request as a negotiating tactic, and it insisted it is on course to emerge from Chapter 11 on the schedule it set.

"The enormous size and vast complexity of these Chapter 11 cases mean that voting on and seeking conformation of the plan of reorganization will take time," Delta said in its motion.

Delta, which has projected it will be worth $9.4 billion (€7.18 billion) to $12 billion (€9.17 billion) after it exits bankruptcy, said its request for the extension has the support of its official committee of unsecured creditors.

A $9.8 billion (€7.49 billion) bid by Tempe, Arizona-based US Airways Group Inc. to buy Delta was withdrawn after Delta's official creditors committee said it supported Delta's standalone plan. There has been no indication publicly, thus far, that any competing plan of reorganization will be filed with the bankruptcy court.

Chapter 11 bankruptcy frees a company from the threat of creditors' lawsuits while it reorganizes its finances. The debtor usually retains control of the business and its assets.


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