"Delta will likely make further reductions in funded debt
and interest expense, which will help offset pressure on earnings and operating cash flow that will come when fuel prices rise," added Root.
Moreover, the speculative-grade ratings are unlikely to change over the medium term as implied by the "stable" outlook on expectations the positive trends will continue and the company will use some of its free operating cash flow to cut its funded debt
over the near term, the service added.
Calls to the government funded debt
advice telephone service, the National Debtline, have increased by 40 per cent since 2007, and demand for Business Debtline, the service specifically for business, has doubled.
To determine the maximum debt capacity of a company, issuers and investors will consider a ratio of total funded debt
to earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of 4.0 as a reasonable starting point.