Delta Air Lines, Inc. (DAL) Beats Earnings Estimates, Meets Revenue

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Delta Air Lines, Inc. (DAL) Beats Earnings Estimates, Meets Revenue
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Delta Air Lines, Inc. (NYSE:DAL) reported the results from its first quarter this morning, posting adjusted earnings per share of 33 cents on revenue of $8.92 billion. Analysts had been expecting the airline to report earnings of 29 cents per share on $8.92 billion in revenue.

Reported earnings per share were 25 cents.

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Comparing Delta’s results

The airline posted pre-tax income of $444 million, excluding items—an increase of $363 million over the same quarter a year ago. Net income was $281 million excluding items, which is a $196 million increase in spite of the company’s $163 million in non-cash tax expense which is recognized now after the reversal of Delta’s valuation allowance. GAAP pre-tax income was $335 million, while GAAP net income was $213 million.

Delta Air Lines, Inc. (NYSE:DAL) reported that it cancelled over 17,000 flights in January and February because of severe weather. That’s twice as many flights the airline cancelled in the same quarter a year ago. The company reported $90 million in lost revenue and $55 million in lost pre-tax income as a result of those canceled flights.

The airline also said its results include $99 million in profit sharing expenses. The company generated $951 million in operating cash flow and $390 million in free cash flow. Delta Air Lines, Inc. (NYSE:DAL) said it was able to cut down its adjusted net debt to $9.1 billion, pay over $600  million to its defined benefit pension plans and return to shareholders $176 million in share buybacks and dividends.

Special items included $31 million from domestic fleet restructuring, $21 million mark-to-market adjustment from fuel hedges and $16 million in connection with debt extinguishment and other costs.

Breaking down Delta’s results

Delta Air Lines, Inc. (NYSE:DAL) reported that passenger revenue rose 5% or $357 million year over year. Passenger unit revenue rose 3.2%, including a 1.3% yield improvement. Cargo revenue fell 9% or $21 million because of lower volumes and yields. Other revenue rose 8% or $80 million due to higher revenues from the airline’s joint venture and SkyMiles program.

“March quarter’s top line growth of 5% shows the strength of Delta’s revenue momentum even through the revenue loss from weather and a shift of the Easter holiday traffic into April,” said Delta Air Lines, Inc. (NYSE:DAL) President Ed Bastian in a statement. “We see continued revenue strength as we move through the year from corporate revenue gains, the benefits of the Virgin Atlantic joint venture and improved ancillary revenues. These initiatives, coupled with a solid demand environment, should lead to unit revenue growth in the mid-single digits for the June quarter.”

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