Delta Air Lines Q3 Profit Down On 2-year Basis; Sees Q4 Earnings Above Market

Delta Air Lines, Inc. (DAL) reported Thursday that its third-quarter net income was $695 million or $1.08 per share, down 54 percent from pre-pandemic fiscal 2019 net income of $1.50 billion or $2.31 per share.

Adjusted net income was $966 million or $1.51 per share, including a 3 cents impact from Hurricane Ian, while 2019 adjusted net income was $1.51 billion or $2.33 per share.

On average, 15 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected earnings of $1.53 per share for the quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.

Operating revenue was $13.98 billion, 11 percent higher than $12.56 billion recorded two years ago.

Adjusted operating revenue was $12.8 billion, 3 percent higher than September quarter 2019. Analysts estimated revenues of $12.87 billion for the quarter.

Looking ahead for the fourth quarter, Delta expects earnings per share of $1.00 to $1.25, and total revenue growth of 5 percent to 9 percent compared to December quarter 2019. Analysts estimate earnings of $0.79 per share for the fourth quarter.

Ed Bastian, Delta's chief executive officer, said, "In this environment, we expect December quarter revenue growth to accelerate versus 2019 with an operating margin of approximately 10 percent."

The company also said it is on track to achieve 2024 targets of over $7 adjusted earnings per share and $4 billion of free cash flow.

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