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Delta Air Lines freed from $1.1 B credit card processor withholding requirement

ATLANTA (AP) — In a show of greater financial support for the post-bankruptcy version of Delta Air Lines, Inc., credit card processors on Wednesday lifted a $1.1 billion withholding requirement for Delta tickets purchased on Visa or MasterCard, freeing up about $800 million that will be used to improve the airline’s domestic and international markets.

‘‘This new agreement reflects the strong confidence of the financial markets in our ability to deliver on our plan’s commitments,’’ said Edward H. Bastian, Delta’s executive vice president and chief financial officer, in a statement.

While the airline was going through bankruptcy proceedings, the credit card processors withheld paying the nation’s third-largest airline for an amount generally equal to processors’ potential liability for tickets purchased with Visa or MasterCard that hadn’t yet been used for travel.

As a result, the processors withheld about $800 million in payments to the Atlanta-based airline, which also substituted a $300 million letter of credit from Merrill Lynch for the remainder of the processors’ liability.

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