Delta Air Lines Inc. (NYSE: DAL) reported better than expected first quarter financial results boosted by higher traffic, despite rising costs of the airline. Shares were trading 2.6 percent higher midday on Thursday.
The airline reported a record revenue of $9.76 billion, increasing 8 percent year over year, but missing analysts’ estimates by $80 million The company reported an adjusted EPS of $0.74, beating estimates by $0.01.
Adjusted pre-tax income for the quarter was $676 million, decreasing by $104 year over year, as sales were offset by higher fuel prices and other increased costs including a $44 million impact from the severe winter storms.
Delta saw its trans-Atlantic revenue flights increase by 14.7 percent to $1.06 billion. Domestic flights increased by 6.9 percent to $6.3 billion.
“We are seeing Delta’s best revenue momentum since 2014, with positive domestic unit revenues, improvements in all our international entities, strong demand for corporate travel and double-digit increases in our loyalty revenues,” said Glen Hauenstein, Delta’s president.
Delta’s strong quarter along with JetBlue’s (NASDAQ:JBLU) upgraded forecast lifted up airline stocks for the second consecutive day. JetBlue shares rose by 1.24 percent on Thursday, while American Airlines’ (NASDAQ:AAL) shares rose by 2.3 percent. United Airlines saw its shares rise by 2.4 percent, despite another lawsuit being filed on Wednesday regarding the incident where a passenger was dragged off the flight last year.
For the second quarter, Delta forecasts an EPS of between $1.80 and $2.00 and total unit revenue to increase by 3 percent to 5 percent year over year, excluding refinery sales.
“With our solid pipeline of commercial initiatives, delivered with industry-leading Delta service, we expect to maintain this momentum and deliver total revenue growth of 4 to 6 percent for the full year.” said Hauenstein.
“We have confidence in our plan to grow earnings in 2018 through top-line growth, improving our cost trajectory, and leveraging our international partnerships.” said Ed Bastian, Delta’s chief executive officer
Delta shares have fallen 5.75 percent this year.