Delta Reports First Quarterly Profit Since Start of Pandemic

By Paul Riegler on 14 July 2021
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Porsche transfer at Minneapolis–Saint Paul International Airport

Delta Air Lines announced financial results for the second quarter of 2021.

The airline reported its first quarterly profit since the start of the pandemic and the subsequent decline in travel across the globe. The airline said that domestic travel in the United States has “fully recovered” to 2019 levels and that there have been “encouraging” signs of improvement in business and international travel.

Adjusted operating revenue for the quarter was $6.3 billion, a 76% increase from the previous quarter’s $3.6 billion and a dramatic increase of $1.2 billion in the same quarter in 2020. However, it is still significantly lower than the carrier’s adjusted revenue for the second quarter of 2019, which was $12.4 billion.

Delta reported a profit of $652 million in the period, after five consecutive quarters of losses.

“We are on a path to improve on pre-pandemic margins and generate sustainable free cash flow,” said Glenn Hauenstein, the airline’s president.

Revenue was boosted by a marked increase in travel demand and a round of government aid to cover employees’ salaries.  The airline received a total of $1.5 billion from the two government payroll support programs.

Adjusted for one-time items such as government payroll support, Delta incurred a $678 million loss in its latest quarter.

The airline recorded 33.3 billion revenue passenger miles, or RPMs, 47% less than in the same period in 2019, where it recorded 63.1 billion.  Capacity was down 32%, to 45.5 billion available seat miles in 2021 from 71.8 ASMs in 2019. PRASM, or passenger revenue per available seat mile, a key metric in airline performance, fell 31% to 11 cents versus 15.84 cents in the same period in 2019.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)


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