Delta Air Profit Falls 36.5%

Delta Air Lines  on Thursday reported a 37 percent decline in fourth-quarter net profit and forecast passenger unit revenue, a closely watched metric, to be flat to up 2 percent in early 2017.

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The No. 2 carrier by passenger traffic said net income fell to $622 million from $980 million a year earlier.

Excluding special items, earnings of 82 cents a share met the analysts' average estimate, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Delta said the profit decline stemmed from the recent agreement it struck with its 13,000 pilots, granting them a 30 percent raise by 2019. The four-year deal, ratified on Dec. 1, is retroactive to Jan. 1, 2016.

Operating revenue fell to $9.46 billion from $9.50 billion, slightly above the analysts' average estimate of $9.40 billion.

Delta shares were down 10 cents at $51.35 in premarket trading.

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(Reporting by Ankit Ajmera in Bengaluru and Alana Wise in New York; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)