Delta Air Lines Declares $1.3B 2018 Profit

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Delta Air Lines has reported financial results for the December quarter and full year 2018.  Highlights of those results, including both GAAP and adjusted metrics, are below and incorporated here.

Adjusted pre-tax income for the December quarter 2018 was $1.2 billion driven by over $700 million of revenue growth, allowing the company to fully recapture the $508 million increase in adjusted fuel expense and produce an 11 percent adjusted pre-tax margin.  Adjusted earnings per share increased by 42 percent year over year to $1.30.

For the full year, adjusted pre-tax income was $5.1 billion, a $137 million decrease relative to 2017 as the company overcame approximately 90 percent of the $2 billion increase in fuel expense.  Full year adjusted earnings per share were $5.65, up 19 percent compared to the prior year as the company recognized benefits from tax reform and a four percent lower share count.

“2018 was a successful year for Delta with record operational reliability, increasing customer satisfaction, and solid financial results in the face of higher fuel costs.  Delta people are the foundation of our success and I am honored to recognize their efforts with $1.3 billion in profit sharing for 2018,” said Ed Bastian, Delta’s chief executive officer.  “As we move into 2019, we expect to drive double-digit earnings growth through higher revenues, maintaining a cost trajectory below inflation, and the modest benefit from lower fuel costs.  Margin expansion is a business imperative and we remain confident in our full-year earnings guidance of $6 to $7 per share.”