Delta Air Lines is doing what anybody with a huge gas bill dreams of doing – buying an oil refinery to make its own fuel.
Delta said Monday that it will pay $150 million for a refinery near Philadelphia that is being sold by division of ConocoPhillips. It’s aiming to slice $300 million a year from its jet fuel bill.
Jet fuel is the refinery product that garners the fattest profit margin, “and they’re taking it from airlines,” Delta CEO Richard Anderson said.
It’s the first time that an airline has taken such a bold step to control escalating fuel costs. But it doesn’t come without risks. Fuel refining is volatile and expensive business.
“If this works, you’re going to see everybody doing it,” said Ray Neidl, an airline analyst with the Maxim Group.