ATLANTA — Delta Air Lines Inc. is in the process of closing nine of its airport VIP lounges in the U.S. and Britain, citing the need to manage costs due to hefty fuel prices.

A spokeswoman said the move also is designed to align Delta's worldwide offering of clubs to its flight schedule.

The Atlanta-based company said in a posting on its Web site that was circulated to members in affected cities last month that eight Crown Room Club locations and one BusinessElite Lounge would be shuttered.

In a further streamlining move, the nation's third-largest carrier also said it would convert its BusinessElite lounges at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport into Crown Room Clubs.

The airline declined to say how much money the changes would save Delta.

The VIP lounges offer free food, beverages and a lounge atmosphere to elite Delta customers and certain high-end customers of American Express. Other customers can pay an annual fee or redeem frequent-flier miles to have access to the airport clubs.

The locations Delta slated for closure in April and May are at airports serving Boston, Cincinnati, Ohio, Kansas City, Seattle, San Juan, Puerto Rico, Phoenix, Denver, Honolulu and London. Most of those airports had multiple Crown Room Clubs and will retain at least one location.

Customers continue to have access to Delta-operated Crown Room Clubs in more than two dozen cities.

Delta announced April 14 that it has agreed to acquire Eagan, Minn.-based Northwest Airlines Corp. in a stock-swap deal that would create the world's largest carrier. Shareholders and regulators must approve the deal.