Delta reports large corporates leading business travel growth

Improved business travel and growth in transatlantic revenue helped lift quarterly profits at Delta Air Lines.

Pre-tax profit for the three months to March improved by $163 million to reach $380 million as operating revenue grew by six per cent year-on-year to $12.6 billion.

Managed corporate sales were up by 14% led by the return of large corporate accounts, particularly in the technology, consumer services and financial services sectors. 

“Recent corporate survey results indicate that 90% of companies expect their travel volumes to increase or stay the same in the June quarter and beyond,” Delta said.

International passenger revenue was 12% higher than the same period last year, with transatlantic passenger unit revenue up two per cent. 

Overall international passenger unit revenues were down three per cent as capacity rose by 16% as the carrier continued to rebuild Latin America and Pacific networks.

US domestic revenues hit a record level with a three cent cent rise year-on-year.

Chief executive Ed Bastian said: “Thanks to the extraordinary work of our 100,000 people, Delta is delivering the best operational reliability in our history, and we have widened the gap to our competitors. 

“We were thrilled to recognise their efforts with $1.4 billion in profit sharing payouts during the quarter. 

“For the March quarter, we delivered record revenue on outstanding operational performance, enabling strong earnings growth. 

“We anticipate continued strong momentum for our business and in the June quarter we expect to deliver record revenue.

Chief financial officer Dan Janki added: “For the March quarter, we delivered pre-tax income of $380 million, an improvement of $163 million over last year.  

“Growth is normalising and we are in a period of optimisation, with a focus on restoring our most profitable core hubs and delivering efficiency gains.  

“For the June quarter, non-fuel unit costs are expected to increase approximately two per cent, consistent with our full year outlook for a low single-digit increase in non-fuel unit costs over 2023.”

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