Delta Air Lines posted another multi-billion net loss after the coronavirus pandemic roiled what is usually the peak travel period of the year. A recovery could take years, the carrier said.

The carrier had a net loss of $5.4 billion in the third quarter compared with a profit of $1.5 billion in the year-earlier period. Revenue dropped 76% from $12.56 billion a year ago to $3.06 billion in the three months ended Sept. 30, slightly under analysts' forecasts for $3.1 billion, it said Tuesday, kicking off third-quarter reporting for the beleaguered sector. Delta's president warned revenues may not normalize for "two years or more."

Delta's shares were down 3.6% in premarket trading.

Large airlines like Delta have been particularly challenged in the pandemic because they previously relied heavily on business travel and sprawling international networks, two areas that have been hard-hit in recent months.

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