Delta Air Lines started the year with “tremendous momentum” with a $966 million uplift in year-on-year profits.

The US carrier saw pre-tax profits come in at $1.56 million for the three months to March.

This came despite the airline disclosing a $5 million revenue hit as a result of the Brussels terrorist attacks.

Overall operating revenue for the quarter dropped by 1.5%, or $137 million, mainly driven by $125 million in what the carrier described as “foreign currency pressures.”

Passenger unit revenues declined 4.6%, including two points of impact from foreign currency, on a 2.7% increase in capacity.

Chief executive, Ed Bastian, said: “We have started 2016 with tremendous momentum, generating over $1.5 billion in adjusted pre-tax income, delivering industry-leading operations including 49 days of perfect mainline completion factor for our customers, and reaching our goal of becoming an investment grade company.

“We will continue to be disciplined with our business in the face of volatile fuel prices, strengthen our foundation, and prove our position as the airline that consistently delivers top results for our employees, our owners and the customers and communities we serve.”

However, president Glen Hauenstein said the carrier was projecting a unit revenue decline of 2.5%–4.5% for the quarter to June.

“While this is an improvement over our March quarter performance, we are focused on getting unit revenues back to a positive trajectory and we will make adjustments to our fall [autumn] capacity levels if we are not making sufficient progress over the coming months,” he said.