Delta Says it is Reducing U.S. Flights to Conserve Fuel

ATLANTA (AP) -- Delta Air Lines Inc., buffeted by high fuel costs in the wake of Katrina and Rita, said it is reducing its flight schedule in the United States.

The Atlanta-based carrier isn't experiencing a shortage of jet fuel, but is conserving energy, it said.

International flights will not be affected since it would be harder to accommodate passengers with other flights on those routes, according to the company.

Delta spokeswoman Chris Kelly said it's impossible to say exactly how many domestic flights will be reduced because it will depend on travel each day.

The reductions will be minimal, though, affecting early morning and late-night flights that have low bookings, Kelly said. For example, flights are more likely to be cut on Tuesday or Wednesdays rather than on busier travel days such as Friday, Sunday and Monday.

Delta, the third largest carrier in the U.S., has about 4,500 flights a day nationwide.

Shares of the company, which filed for bankruptcy protection on Sept. 14, rose 1 cent to $0.80 in afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

Delta's announcement followed one by American Airlines on Friday that it was temporarily cutting flights from two hubs. American, owned by AMR Corp., cited high jet fuel prices, which were also blamed for a new round of fare increases.

American, the largest U.S. passenger air carrier, said it was canceling 15 round trips temporarily from Chicago O'Hare and Dallas-Fort Worth international airports. Northwest Airlines also announced modest flight reductions.