Delta Air Lines reported a huge loss for 2020 due to the coronavirus, but expects an improving market in 2021

Delta Air Lines reported a massive loss Thursday for 2020 following the devastating impact of the coronavirus on air travel, but said it expects to return to profitability later this year.

With traffic depressed in the wake of lockdowns and myriad restrictions to counter the pandemic, Delta suffered a $12.4 billion loss for all of 2020, its first year in the red since 2009 and a big come-down from record profits in 2019.

Delta also reported a quarterly loss for the period ending December 31, capping what Chief Executive Ed Bastian called “the toughest year in Delta’s history.”

But shares of the US carrier rose solidly Thursday as Bastian projected a return to profitability later this year once vaccines become widespread.

“While our challenges continue in 2021, I am optimistic