Delta Air Lines released its latest quarterly earnings results before opening bell this morning, posting adjusted earnings of 82 cents per share, which was in line with the consensus. Revenue fell slightly from $9.5 billion in the fourth quarter of 2015 to $9.46 billion in the fourth quarter of 2016. However, it was enough to beat the consensus estimate of $9.4 billion.
Delta Air Lines sees results fall
Delta’s fourth quarter GAAP earnings fell to 84 cents per share or $622 million from the year-ago quarter’s $1.25 per share or $980 million. Passenger revenue fell 2.7%, which wasn’t as bad as the airline was expecting, as management had guided for a decline of between 3% and 5%.
Delta Air Lines said its load factor fell to 85.1%, although that matched the consensus estimate. In the year-ago quarter, load factor stood at 85.2%. Delta boosted its capacity by 0.9% during the fourth quarter.
Delta guides for first quarter
For the current quarter, Delta Air Lines projects flat to up 2% passenger revenues with flat to down 1% capacity. The airline warned that it expects margin pressures during the first quarter because higher fuel prices and increases in employee wages are not expected to keep pace with the change in unit revenues. However, Delta expects these pressures to peak during the quarter and its margins to begin expanding in the second half of this year.
“Delta’s cost and capital discipline has allowed us to consistently invest in our people and the customer experience, and do so in a way that keeps our unit cost growth manageable over time and generates sufficient cash flow for debt reduction and shareholder returns,” CFO Paul Jacobson said in a statement. “We’ll continue to take this balanced approach – investing across the business to drive future earnings growth, further strengthening our investment grade balance sheet, and returning cash to our owners – as we drive sustainability for the long term.”
Shares of Delta Air Lines slipped by as much as 0.17% to $51.35 during premarket trading this morning.