Delta Air Lines (DAL) said the company’s September quarter marked an important milestone in its recovery, with first quarterly profit since the start of the pandemic. Revenues were two-thirds of 2019 levels. The company noted that the recent rise in fuel prices will pressure its ability to remain profitable for the December quarter. Delta Air Lines expects total December quarter revenue to recover to the low 70s percentage relative to 2019. Capacity is projected to be 80% restored in the December quarter.
Delta Air Lines reported third-quarter adjusted pre-tax income of $216 million, which excludes a $1.3 billion net benefit related to the second payroll support program extension partially offset by debt extinguishment charges and mark-to-market adjustments on investments. Adjusted earnings per share was $0.30, for the quarter. On average, 17 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected the company to report profit per share of $0.17, for the quarter. Analysts’ estimates typically exclude special items. GAAP net income was $1.21 billion or $1.89 per share, for the quarter.
Operating revenue, adjusted, which excludes refinery sales, were $8.28 billion for the third quarter. Analysts expected revenue of $8.40 billion, for the quarter. Total revenue was $9.2 billion, for the quarter.
Compared to the same period in 2019, third-quarter operating revenue, adjusted was 66 percent restored, in line with the company’s initial revenue guidance. Total passenger revenue was 63 percent recovered in the September quarter 2021 compared to September quarter 2019 on system capacity that was 71 percent restored compared to 2019 levels.
Delta ended the quarter with $15.8 billion in liquidity, including $2.6 billion in undrawn revolver capacity. Free cash flow was negative $463 million for the quarter.
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