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Delta's (DAL) October Traffic Rises, Load Factor Declines

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Delta Air Lines, Inc. (DAL - Free Report) reported traffic figures for October 2018. Consolidated traffic, measured in revenue passenger miles (RPMs), came in at 18.78 billion, up 2.7% year over year.

Consolidated capacity (or available seat miles/ASMs) climbed 3.2% to 21.97 billion on a year-over-year basis. Consolidated load factor or percentage of seats filled by passengers contracted 50 basis points (bps) to 85.5% due to capacity expansion exceeding traffic growth.

Additionally, the carrier recorded an on-time performance (mainline) of 90% and a completion factor (mainline) of 99.9%. Approximately, 16.5 million passengers boarded Delta in the month.


On a year-to-date basis, this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company generated consolidated RPMs of 190.78 billion (up 3.2% year over year) and ASMs of 222.81 billion (up 3.4% year over year). Load factor in the period was 85.6% compared with 85.7% at the end of the same time frame a year ago. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

We remind investors that last month, the company reported better-than-expected earnings per share but lower-than-expected revenues for the third quarter of 2018. Quarterly earnings (excluding 11 cents from non-recurring items) of $1.80 per share surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 6 cents. The bottom line also improved on a year-over-year basis despite high fuel costs. Results were aided by stronger revenues.

Operating revenues came in at $11,953 million, marginally missing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $11,956.9 million. However, the top line increased 8% from the year-ago figure. Strong demand for air travel boosted revenues. (Read more: Delta Beats on Q3 Earnings Despite High Fuel Costs)

Other key airline players, namely American Airlines Group Inc. (AAL - Free Report) , Southwest Airlines Co. (LUV - Free Report) and Alaska Air Group, Inc. (ALK - Free Report) also announced third-quarter earnings figures in October. Each of the carriers delivered better-than-expected results in the quarter.

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