Delta Air Lines Inc. Sees Improved Performance, but Fuel Cost Projections Rise

Delta Air Lines revenue growth slowed thanks to the timing of the Easter holiday, but the firm continued to see improved performance relative to its 2013 results.

Patrick Morris
Patrick Morris
Apr 2, 2014 at 11:59AM

Today, Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL) announced its March performance, and the company saw its consolidated passenger revenue per available seat mile (PRASM) increase by just 1% relative to March of 2013.

However, the company noted that part of the reason for the slower growth in revenue -- growth stood at 4% in February -- was the timing of the Easter holiday, which this year falls in April, after being in March last year. As a result, it anticipates the combined revenue of March and April to represent an increase of 3% to 4%.

Delta continued to see strong performance in its total monthly traffic, which stood at 17.1 billion revenue passenger miles, an increase of 3.9% over March of 2013. Through the first three months of the year, its revenue passenger miles -- which measure number of miles traveled by all paying passengers -- are up 3.5%.

In addition, the load factor -- which measures the utilization of the available seats at Delta -- stood at 82.7% in the first quarter of 2014, 1.5 percentage points ahead of the 81.2% seen in 2013.

March also represented a month where it continued to improve in on-time performance, as 84.3% of its flights came in on time. This was the second month in a row where this metric increased significantly, as that number stood at just 70.2% in January, and 77.5% in February. 

Delta had been projecting its adjusted fuel price per gallon to stand between $2.99 and $3.04 in previous press releases, but its preliminary results announced today raised its expectation to stand between $3.02 and $3.07. However, this still remains well below the $3.23 to $3.28 range the company saw in the first quarter of 2013.