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Leading passenger and cargo carrier Delta Air Lines (DAL - Analyst Report) reported growth in traffic for Sep 2013 on strong contributions from Latin America and modest growth in domestic and Atlantic regions.

The company’s airline traffic – measured in revenue passenger miles or RPMs, which implies revenue generated per mile per passenger – moved up 1.8% year over year to 16.1 billion. Consolidated capacity (or available seat miles/ASMs) for the month, increased 1.7% from Sep 2012 to 19.3 billion.

The load factor or percentage of seats filled by passengers, increased 10 basis points from the same month of the previous year to 83.3%.

Passenger revenue per available seat mile (PRASM) improved 5.5% year over year, aided by solid performance in trans-Atlantic and Latin American markets. The company registered a completion factor of 99.9%, with nearly 90.2% of its flights on schedule.

For the first nine months of 2013, Delta generated RPMs of 148.8 billion (up 0.7% from the corresponding period last year) and ASMs of 176.8 billion (up 0.4% year over year), while load factor was 84.2%, up 30 basis points year over year.

Recently, Delta announced its plan to purchase 40 new jets from Airbus in a deal worth $5.6 billion to upgrade its fleet. Delta has ordered 10 A330-300 wide body jets and 30 narrow body A321 aircraft to be delivered between 2015 and 2017.

Furthermore, Delta recently got the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) approval for its tie up with Virgin Atlantic for better flight offerings between the U.S. and U.K. The trans-Atlantic amalgamation will subsequently give Delta more control over the New York-London route and the second spot in this market with nine daily roundtrip flights.

Apart from new route launches, Delta and leading Latin American airline, GOL Linhas Aereas Inteligentes S.A. (GOL - Analyst Report) have attained their immediate goal of expanded the code sharing thus providing increased benefits to their loyal customer base.

We expect the company to be well positioned over the coming months owing to various strategic initiatives such as route launches, renovation of airport terminals, inorganic expansion and fleet structure upgrade.

Delta operates with the likes of United Continental Holdings Inc. (UAL - Analyst Report) and JetBlue Airways Corp. (JBLU - Analyst Report), and carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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