ATLANTA (AP) — Delta reported better-than-expected revenue in the fourth quarter, while its adjusted profit met Wall Street's view. The airline benefited from lower fuel costs.
For the three months through December, Delta earned $622 million, or 84 cents per share. A year earlier the Atlanta-based company earned $980 million, or $1.25 per share.
Earnings, adjusted for one-time gains, were 82 cents per share.
This matched the expectations of analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research.
Profit fell because of a new pilot contract approved in December.
Fuel costs declined during the latest quarter, and the average fuel price per gallon also dropped.
Revenue slipped to $9.46 billion from $9.5 billion, but beat the $9.35 billion that analysts polled by Zacks anticipated.
Looking ahead, Delta Air Lines Inc. expects "unit revenue," a proxy for average fares, to be flat to up 2 percent in the first quarter. If that happens, it would end a 2 year streak of falling fares.
Chief Executive Ed Bastian said on a conference call that Delta must raise revenue because it's facing higher fuel and labor costs. He said the revenue environment "finally appears to have turned the corner."
President Glen Hauenstein said demand and prices by business travelers have improved since the presidential election.
Shares slipped 39 cents to $51.05 in afternoon trading Thursday. Its shares traded as low as $49.67 earlier in the day. Its shares are up 8.8 percent over the past year.
Elements of this story were generated by Automated Insights (http://automatedinsights.com/ap) using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on DAL at https://www.zacks.com/ap/DAL
Keywords: Delta Air Lines, Earnings Report, Priority Earnings