Delta Air Lines
In fact, Delta recently announced it will purchase a refinery from ConocoPhillips
Delta posted earnings of $124 million during the quarter, as compared to a loss of $318 million in last year's first quarter. However, the scenario is not so pretty considering once the one-time special items such as gains for fuel hedges are excluded from this number, the company lost $0.05 per share.
The company's bottom line was hit by a $250 million increase in fuel costs, which it countered by $45 million in gains through fuel hedging. Hedging is popular among companies that need oil as a raw material on a regular basis. JetBlue Airways
In a bid to cut down on costs and return to profitability, Delta is also resorting to measures such as reducing unprofitable routes and shrinking capacity by as much as 3% in order to take advantage of the rising demand for air travel and improve its pricing power.
More passengers, more revenue
On the bright side, Delta generated $8.4 billion in revenue, a noteworthy 9% increase as compared to the previous year. Travel demand has picked up and the company seems to be seeing fuller planes. This is clear as passenger revenue per available seat mile (a key metric used to measure an airline's profitability) increased by 14%, benefited by better rates and stronger demand in the Atlantic and Pacific regions. This figure looks impressive when compared to United Continental's
The Foolish bottom line
Delta Air Lines is stuck with high fuel costs, but it's not the only one to face such a situation. However, an overall improvement in demand for air travel, coupled with the company's strategy of curtailing costs to improve its pricing power is likely to boost Delta's prospects in the long run. To stay updated on this stock, add Delta Air Lines to your watchlist. It's completely free!