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Delta (DAL) Posts Rise in January Traffic, Load Factor Flat

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Delta Air Lines, Inc. (DAL - Free Report) posted mixed traffic figures for January 2019. In spite of reporting an increase in traffic, load factor (percentage of seats filled by passengers) remained flat as traffic growth was on par with capacity expansion.

Consolidated traffic, measured in revenue passenger miles (RPMs), totaled 16.56 billion, up 5.9% year over year. Consolidated capacity (or available seat miles/ASMs) also climbed 5.9% to 20.79 billion on a year-over-year basis. As a result, consolidated load factor was flat at 79.7%.


Additionally, this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company recorded an on-time performance (mainline) of 86.7% and a completion factor (mainline) of 99.6%. Notably, Delta’s passenger count rose 6.2% to around 14.1 million in the month. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Apart from the traffic report, the Atlanta, GA-based carrier was able to make the headlines in January, when it reported better-than-expected earnings per share but lower-than-expected revenues in the fourth quarter of 2018. Quarterly earnings (excluding 19 cents from non-recurring items) of $1.30 per share beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 3 cents. The bottom line also improved on a year-over-year basis despite high costs. Results were aided by strong revenues.

Operating revenues came in at $10,742 million, missing the consensus mark of $10,828.7 million. However, the top line increased 4.9% from the year-ago quarter’s figure. Strong demand for air travel boosted revenues. (Read more: Delta Air Lines Q4 Earnings Beat, Revenues Lag)

Other key airline players, namely Southwest Airlines Co. (LUV - Free Report) , Union Pacific Corporation (UNP - Free Report) and United Continental Holdings, Inc. (UAL - Free Report) also released fourth-quarter 2018 results on January. Each of the carriers delivered better-than-expected figures in the quarter.

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