Delta Air Lines announced Wednesday that it generated record revenue in the first quarter and that its profit and sales for the period beat Wall Street’s expectations.
“Demand for Delta’s product has never been stronger,” President Glen Hauenstein said in a statement announcing the earnings. “With our customer-focused commercial initiatives delivering strong customer loyalty and top-line momentum, we now expect full-year revenue growth of five to seven percent, an increase from our prior guidance.”
Delta’s stock was up 1.6% midday Wednesday.
The Atlanta-based carrier earned 96 cents a share, on an adjusted basis, in the first quarter compared with an average of 90 cents expected by analysts polled by Refinitiv.
Delta generated $10.47 billion in revenue, compared with $10.42 billion forecast by analysts. Its sales jumped 5.1 percent, up from $9.97 billion during the first three months of last year.
On an unadjusted basis, the company’s profit surged 31 percent to $730 million, or $1.09 per share, up from $557 million or 79 cents a share a year earlier.
Investors were expecting a strong quarter from Delta, especially after it raised its earnings and revenue guidance last week, citing healthy demand that helped drive record performance.
Delta said it would keep capacity consistent into the summer months, which will alleviate investor concerns that scheduling too many flights during peak travel season would lower fares and reduce revenue.
It forecast an even stronger second quarter, telling investors that its earnings per share will fall between $2.05 and $2.35 and total operating revenue will rise by 6% to 8% over the same quarter last year. It expects to boost its flight capacity by 4% to 4.5%, year over year.
Delta’s revenue per available seat mile, a key industry metric of how much airlines are bringing in for each seat they fly a mile, rose 2.4% in the first three months of 2019, compared with the year-earlier period. The carrier said it expects this figure to rise between 1.5% and 3.5% in the second quarter of this year.