updated 10/19/2005 4:18:48 PM ET 2005-10-19T20:18:48

Delta Air Lines Inc., which is operating under bankruptcy protection, expects to post a loss of $2.16 billion excluding special items for 2005 because of soaring fuel prices, its chief financial officer told a group of the company's pilots Wednesday.

The projection by CFO Edward Bastian was made during a private presentation to Delta pilots and released publicly later in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. Delta is the nation's third-largest carrier after AMR Corp.'s American Airlines and UAL Corp.'s United Airlines.

Atlanta-based Delta, which filed for Chapter 11 in New York on Sept. 14, is expected to release its third-quarter results on Nov. 9.

The airline is trying to get its pilots to agree to another $325 million in concessions. That would be on top of $1 billion in annual concessions the pilots accepted last year.

If the two sides can't agree on the new round of cuts, Delta has said it is willing to try to use the bankruptcy court to impose the cuts. Union officials held meetings starting Monday to discuss their options.

Delta has already posted nearly $10 billion in losses since January 2001.

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