Delta profit beats on strong demand, higher ticket prices

(Reuters) – Delta Air Lines (DAL.N) reported a third-quarter profit that beat analysts’ estimates on Thursday as a strengthening U.S. economy spurred demand for air travel, helping the airline raise ticket prices.

FILE PHOTO: A Delta Airlines flight is pushed put of its gate at the airport in Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S., January 12, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

The No.2 U.S. airline also forecast total unit revenue, a closely watched performance metric, to increase between 3 and 5 percent in the fourth quarter.

Shares of Delta and peers such as American Airlines Group Inc (AAL.O) and Southwest Airlines Co (LUV.N) have fallen this year as airlines struggle with a spike in fuel costs, with oil prices hovering near 4-year highs.

The carrier’s net income rose to $1.31 billion, or $1.91 per share, in the quarter ended Sept. 30 from $1.16 billion, or $1.61 cents per share, a year earlier.

On an adjusted basis, Delta earned $1.80 per share, beating analysts’ average estimate of $1.74, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Total operating revenue rose to $11.95 billion from $11.06 billion.

Reporting by Tracy Rucinski in Chicago and Ankit Ajmera in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva

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