Delta 4Q profits beat estimates and airline raises guidance

Delta Air Lines on Thursday posted fourth-quarter earnings that beat Wall Street’s expectations, and it raised its 2018 guidance about 20 percent.

Fueling Delta’s upbeat forecast was its ability to increase how much it generates from each seat it flies per mile, a key revenue metric. This rose 4 percent in the three months ended in December from a year earlier.

Passenger revenue increased in every region, though trans-Atlantic travel was a standout in the quarter with 9 percent growth on the year. Cargo revenue also surged, as consumer demand grew for speedy deliveries.

Delta’s shares surged after the report and outlook from the airline’s executives, adding 4.8 percent to close at $58.52. Its rivals American and United rose 4.9 and 4.6 percent, respectively.

For the quarter ended Dec. 31, the second-largest U.S. airline posted net income of $572 million, or 80 cents per share, a decline of 8 percent from the year-earlier period.

On an adjusted basis, Delta earned 96 cents per share on revenue of $10.25 billion. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected earnings of 88 cents a share on revenue of $10.13 billion.

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