Delta Air Lines announces its first profit since the start of the pandemic.

Delta Air Lines reported a profit of $ 652 million in the second quarter of the year, its first since the start of the pandemic and the latest sign that the airlines’ recovery is well underway. The carrier reported $ 7.1 billion in revenue.

There were also promising indications that activity is returning to normal, Delta said, noting that booking trends have picked up as customers purchase tickets further away, with average daily sales exceeding 20% ​​over-the-top levels. Delta’s internal expectations.

“Domestic leisure travel is fully back to 2019 levels and there are encouraging signs of improvement in business and international travel,” airline general manager Ed Bastian said in a statement. .

Business travel rebounded as offices reopened throughout the quarter, as the number of business travelers fell 60% in June from 80% in March, according to the airline.

Despite these encouraging signs, Delta’s quarterly profit, supported by $ 1.5 billion in federal stimulus funds, was still down 55% from the same quarter in 2019. Its revenue was down 43%. % compared to two years ago.

The number of people flying on vacations or to visit friends and family in the United States has returned to pre-pandemic levels, but Delta’s revenue from domestic travel is down 45% compared to 2019 due to the decline in business travel.

Revenue from trips to Latin America fell only 36%, while longer flights across the Atlantic or Pacific Oceans generated around 85% less revenue. Freight revenues, on the other hand, increased by 35%.

Delta also offered an overview of its forecast for the quarter encompassing July, August and September: passenger capacity will be down 28-30% and revenue will be down 30-35%, compared to the same period in 2019.

The financial results arrived as Delta announced plans to purchase 29 used Boeing 737s and lease seven used Airbus A350s, some of which will replace older planes that the carrier had withdrawn from its fleet. The move resulted in improved energy efficiency, which increased by more than 7% in the second quarter compared to 2019.

Delta is the first major airline to release second quarter financial results. American Airlines, United Airlines and Southwest Airlines are all expected to report their results next week.

American offered a snapshot of those results, saying in a securities filing Tuesday that it expected to report earnings of between a loss of $ 35 million and a profit of $ 25 million for the quarter.

“We are clearly moving in the right direction,” airline chief executive Doug Parker and chairman Robert Isom said in a memo on Tuesday. “Our revenues and expenses during the quarter were above expectations, and this was achieved while bringing the operation to full capacity and safely transporting a record number of travelers. “

Travel to the United States is down about 20% from the same period in 2019, according to filter data from the Transportation Security Administration. Summer is the busiest season in the industry, but it’s unclear what fall will look like when business travel typically picks up.

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