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Delta Air Lines March Traffic, Load Factor Rise, But Capacity Declines

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Delta Air Lines Inc. (DAL: Quote, DALRQ.PK) on Tuesday reported operational results for the month of March that saw a 4.4 percent increase in load factor and a 2.0 percent increase in traffic, while capacity declined 3.4 percent.

The Atlanta, Georgia-based company noted that revenue for the month exceeded prior expectations on improved close-in bookings and better Pacific performance.

Monthly consolidated passenger unit revenue or PRASM rose 13 percent year over year on strong demand, particularly from corporate customers. This generated improvements in yield and load factor across all regions, the company said.

Delta Air Lines' total system traffic for March in terms of revenue passenger miles or RPMs rose to 16.46 billion from 16.14 billion in the same period last year.

The airline's capacity dropped to 19.57 billion available seat miles or ASMs from 20.26 billion ASMs in the same period last year. Load factor rose 4.4 points to 84.1 percent from 79.7 percent a year earlier.

Domestic traffic increased 0.3 percent from last year to 10.12 billion RPMs and load factor rose 3 points to 86.3 percent. However, domestic capacity for March declined 3.2 percent from the year-ago period to 11.72 billion ASMs.

International traffic grew 4.7 percent from the prior-year period to 6.34 billion RPMs and load factor rose 6.5 points to 80.8 percent. International capacity declined 3.8 percent to 7.85 billion ASMs.

For the year-to-date period, total system traffic rose 1.0 percent on a 3.2 percent decrease in capacity and a 3.3 points increase in load factor.

In late January, Delta reported a profit for the fourth quarter that soared from last year, as higher fares helped offset an increase in fuel costs.

In Tuesday's regular session, DAL is trading at $10.44, up $0.43 or 4.35 percent on a volume of 4.78 million shares.

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by RTT Staff Writer

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