Delta Triples Q4 Earnings, Tops US$5 Billion In Full-Year Profit
Anna Kroupina, Open Jaw
Delta Air Lines released financial results for the December quarter and full year 2018 today, showing a strong surge in revenue throughout the latter part of last year.
Delta’s Q4 earnings showed a surge of growth for the airline, beating Wall Street’s expectations. The company’s net income before tax for the quarter was US$1 billion, up from $299 million a year earlier.
The airline’s total operating revenue for the December quarter was $10.7 billion, improved 5% versus the prior year.
Looking at the full year, adjusted pre-tax income was US$5.1 billion, a $137 million decrease relative to 2017 as the company overcame approximately 90% of the $2 billion increase in fuel expense.
“[This is Delta’s] fifth year of $5 billion-plus (in net income), so sentiment is quite strong and will disperse over $1 billion in profit share or 14% of gross salary,” said Steven Larkin, Director Sales, Canada for DL, in a statement to Open Jaw. “Delta people are feeling quite good,” Larkin added.
Total passenger revenue last year increased 7% over 2017, with a particular boost in the domestic sector, which saw 7.7% growth.
In 2018, Delta achieved a number of milestones. Of particular note were:
Delta was the recipient of the Glassdoor Employee’s Choice Award for the fourth consecutive year, based entirely on input provided by employees, reiterating the importance of the Delta culture.
The company announced sustainability improvements including removal of a variety of single-use plastic items from Delta’s aircraft and clubs, eliminating more than 300,000 pounds in plastic waste annually.
Throughout 2018, the airline delivered 143 days of zero system cancellations across the combined mainline and Delta Connection operations on a full year basis, up considerably from 2017, when it had 90 days.
FlightGlobal recognized DL as the ‘Most On-time North American Mainline Airline,’ ‘Most On-time North American Network Airline,’ and ‘Most On-time International Mainline Airline.’
Ranked as the No. 1 U.S. airline by the corporate travel community in the Business Travel News Airline Survey for a historic eighth consecutive year, sweeping all 10 categories.
As it moves into 2019, Delta’s CEO Ed Bastian says the airline expects to drive double-digit earnings growth through higher revenues, maintaining a cost trajectory below inflation, and a modest benefit from lower fuel costs.