Continuing travel recovery means Delta Air Lines is making more profit than it expected, reporting the highest revenue in its history for the third quarter.
Revenue for the final three months of the year is even set to be ahead of pre-pandemic levels, the US carrier said in a third quarter results statement on October 13, 2022.
“We reached a major milestone this quarter, with adjusted revenue 3 percent higher and unit revenues up 23 percent compared to 2019, marking the highest revenue and unit revenue quarter in Delta’s history,” commented Delta President Glen Hauenstein. “With corporate travel improving and robust domestic and international demand, we expect December quarter revenue to be up 5 to 9 percent compared to December quarter 2019.”
Ed Bastian, Delta’s chief executive officer, said consumers were spending on experiences and international and corporate travel demand was also improving. The carrier is expecting to fully restore its network by summer 2023.
“With strong demand and a return to best-in-class operational performance, we are ahead of our plan for the year on profitability and expect to be free cash flow positive,” Bastian said.
For the quarter to September 30, 2022, Delta reported operating revenue of $12.8 billion, 3% higher than the same quarter in 2019. It made operating income of $1.5 billion, with an operating margin of 11.6 %.
The carrier said transatlantic demand was driven by leisure destinations such as Italy, Spain and Greece and improving business demand, with transatlantic revenue up 12% compared to 2019.