U.S. Demand Boosts Delta Air Profit


Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL) reported a higher second-quarter profit on Wednesday as it flew fuller planes and enjoyed higher passenger revenue in the United States and Europe.

The company's profit beat forecasts by a penny when adjusted for items, though revenue fell short of analysts' expectations as yields weakened in Asia and Latin America.

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Delta expected unit revenue - a benchmark gauge known as passenger revenue per available seat mile - to grow 2 percent to 4 percent in the current quarter. That metric surged 5.7 percent in the just-completed quarter.

The company forecast operating margin, a measure of profitability, of 15 percent to 17 percent for the current quarter; that compares with 15.1 percent for the second quarter.

Second quarter net income was $801 million, or 94 cents a share, compared with $685 million, or 80 cents a share, a year earlier.

Adjusted for restructuring and other items, profit was $1.04 a share in the latest period, compared with $1.03 expected by analysts on average, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue rose 9 percent to $10.62 billion, compared with $10.65 billion expected by analysts.

Atlanta-based Delta has bolstered revenue by charging more for seats with greater leg room, replacing 50-seat jets with larger, more cost-efficient planes and buying a refinery to help reduce fuel expenses. Delta said its Pennsylvania refinery turned a profit in the second quarter.