Delta Airlines announces 2017 September quarter profit

 

Delta Airlines has reported financial results for the September quarter 2017.

 

Highlights of those results, including both GAAP and adjusted metrics, are below and incorporated here.

 

Adjusted pre-tax income for the September 2017 quarter was $1.7 billion, a $182 million decrease from the September 2016 quarter.  Pre-tax income includes a $120 million reduction from the operational disruption following Hurricane Irma that hit the Caribbean, Florida, Georgia and, specifically, Delta’s hub in Atlanta.

“While we faced a number of challenges this quarter, including multiple hurricanes and an earthquake in Mexico, I am proud of how Delta people responded and still delivered an outstanding performance this quarter.

 

“Having just completed the busiest summer travel season in our history, we have good momentum, a determined team and a solid pipeline of initiatives to grow earnings and margins”, Ed Bastian, Delta’s chief executive officer, said.

 

To assist customers and employees in affected regions, Delta operated nine humanitarian flights, added more than 12,000 additional seats to impacted cities and shipped more than 600,000 pounds of relief supplies. In addition, Delta and the Delta Air Lines Foundation made $2.75 million in contributions to Red Cross organizations, while Delta employees contributed $250,000 to the American Red Cross and another $250,000 to the Delta Care Fund that directly supports fellow employees.

 

Delta’s operating revenue of $11.1 billion for the September quarter was up 5.5 percent, or $577 million versus prior year, despite a $140 million reduction from Hurricane Irma.

 

Passenger revenue increased $328 million, including $160 million from Delta’s Branded Fares initiatives.  Passenger unit revenues increased 1.9 percent on 1.6 percent higher capacity.

 

Cargo revenue increased 11.5 percent, driven by higher volumes in freight and mail.  Other revenue increased 18.4 percent primarily due to higher loyalty revenue and third-party refinery sales.

 

Speaking on the report, Glen Hauenstein, Delta’s president said, “Three of four entities reported positive unit revenues, and we see continued opportunity in business yields.  We expect fourth quarter unit revenues to be up two to four percent with all entities in positive territory by year end,”  “Our commercial platform of delivering network efficiency, driving customer innovation and improving customer choice should allow us to deliver sustained positive unit revenue, while maintaining our industry-leading revenue premium.”

 

Cost Performance

Adjusted fuel expense4 increased $230 million compared to the same period in 2016 as market fuel prices increased throughout the quarter.  Delta’s adjusted fuel price per gallon for the September quarter was $1.68, which includes $0.03 of benefit from the refinery.

 

CASM-Ex, including profit sharing increased 4.8 percent for the September 2017 quarter compared to the prior year period which includes pressure from Hurricane Irma-related flight cancellations.  Normalized CASM-Ex, including profit sharing increased 2.6 percent versus the prior year period, driven by employee wage increases, product investments, and accelerated depreciation associated with Delta’s narrowbody fleet initiatives.

Non-operating expense declined $35 million for the quarter due to foreign exchange favorability.

“For the full year we expect non-fuel unit costs to be up approximately four percent as harmonization of profit sharing plans, accelerated depreciation of narrowbody aircraft and pressure from weather-related cancellations have added over a point of pressure to costs from our previous guidance.

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