• Delta Air Lines exceeded expectations with record revenue and a $37 million profit in Q1 2024, improving from a loss in 2023.
  • The airline focused on operational excellence and efficiency gains, delivering industry-best on-time performance and completion rate.
  • Corporate sales increased by 14% with strong demand expected to continue in Q2 2024, reflecting recovery in corporate travel.

Delta Air Lines has announced its financial results for Q1 2024, delivering record revenues and an exceptional operational performance. The airline is also seeing corporate demand bounce back following its slump over the pandemic.

Delta reports strong quarter

The legacy carrier exceeded analysts’ expectations with an operating revenue of $12.6 billion for the first quarter of 2024 – a 6% year-on-year increase – and a tidy $37 million profit (or $0.45 per share), representing a major improvement on the $363 million loss in Q1 2023. Continuing its streak of operational excellence and customer service, the airline delivered the best on-time performance (OTP) and completion rate in the industry.

Delta chief executive officer Ed Bastian commented,

“For the March quarter, we delivered record revenue on outstanding operational performance, enabling strong earnings growth. Thanks to the extraordinary work of our 100,000 people, Delta is delivering the best operational reliability in our history, and we have widened the gap to our competitors.”

N703TW Delta Air Lines Boeing 757-2Q8 (1)

Photo: Vincenzo Pace I Simple Flying

The airline’s chief financial officer, Dan Janki, noted that its “growth is normalizing and we are in a period of optimization,” with plans to focus on incremental efficiency gains and restoring its most profitable airport hubs. The carrier has slowed its hiring following a major recruitment drive after the pandemic, and doesn’t expect to pick up in this department in 2024. Other highlights of Delta’s Q1 include:

  • Adjusted pre-tax income of $380 million, up by $163 million year-on-year
  • Earnings per share of $0.45
  • Operating income of $640 million with an operating margin of 5.1%
  • Delivery of seven new aircraft, including the A321neo and A220
  • Improved fuel efficiency of 1.9% year-on-year

Corporate uptick

The airline’s managed corporate sales – defined as airfares sold under corporate contracts – went up 14% compared to the same period last year, with corporate travel demand trending to remain strong in the second quarter. Much of this was down to the return of large corporate customers, “particularly in the Technology, Consumer Services and Financial Services sectors.”

Inside the Delta One Business class cabin.

Photo: Delta Air Lines

Delta noted that a recent survey revealed that around 90% of corporate companies expect their travel demands to remain consistent or go up in Q2 2024.

Second quarter forecast

Delta has forecast second-quarter earnings of $2.20 to $2.50 per share, with the midpoint better than industry analysts, according to LSEG. The carrier hopes to achieve total revenue growth of between 5-7% year-on-year, with all of its markets except Latin America expected to remain stable.


Delta Air Lines Sets Profit-Sharing Standard With $1.4 Billion Payout For 2023

Employees will receive around an extra month of pay.

Delta was recently named the world’s largest airline brand for the sixth consecutive year and paid out a record $1.4 billion in profit sharing following its 2023 net profit of $4.6 billion.

Did you fly with Delta in the last quarter? How did you find the experience? Let us know in the comments.

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