Visit our Covid-19 microsite for the latest coronavirus news, analysis and updates

Follow the latest updates of the outbreak on our timeline.

US carrier Delta Air Lines has considered retiring its fleet of Boeing 777s to cut costs due to a steep fall in passenger traffic as a result of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

It also plans to retire other older high-maintenance jets.

Retiring 18 Boeing 777 jets and MD-90 planes by the end of the year would lead to non-cash impairment charges of $1.4bn to $1.7bn before tax in its second-quarter.

Meanwhile, the company plans to leverage its fuel-efficient and cost-effective A330 and A350-900 wide-body planes for long-haul operation once international demand resumes.

Delta CEO Ed Bastian’s memo said: “Our principal financial goal for 2020 is to reduce our cash burn to zero by the end of the year, which will mean, for the next two to three years, a smaller network, fleet and operation in response to substantially reduced customer demand.

“Retiring a fleet as iconic as the 777 is not an easy decision. I know it has a direct impact on many of you who fly, crew and service these jets.”

Last month, the company announced its plan to reduce its total capacity by 85%, including domestic capacity by 80% and international by 90% for the June quarter as part of its efforts to address Covid-19 challenges.

In March, Delta Air Lines decided to ground nearly 600 aircraft, as passenger operations collapsed globally due to the pandemic.

Global confirmed cases on Covid-19 is 4,443,793 cases while the death toll stands at 302,462.