Delta Air Lines announces $929 Million profit excluding special items

Delta Air Lines announces $929 Million profit excluding special items

Delta Air Lines today reported financial results for the September 2010 quarter.  Key points include:

  * Delta’s net income for the September 2010 quarter was $929 million, or $1.10 per diluted share, excluding special items(1).  This is an $878 million improvement year over year. 
  * Delta’s GAAP net income was $363 million, or $0.43 per diluted share, for the September 2010 quarter.
  * Results include $185 million in profit sharing expense, in recognition of Delta employees’ achievements toward meeting the company’s financial targets, bringing total profit sharing expense for the year to date to $275 million.
  * Delta executed $750 million in debt reduction and delevering initiatives during the quarter and ended the September 2010 quarter with $5.5 billion in unrestricted liquidity.


“This quarter’s profit is evidence of the success of our merger.  We are making progress toward our goal of consistent profitability with 10-12% annual operating margins and we expect to be profitable for the December quarter,” said Richard Anderson, Delta’s chief executive officer.  “These results would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of the Delta people and we are pleased to recognize their contributions with an additional $185 million this quarter for our profit sharing program.” 

Revenue Environment

Total operating revenue for the September 2010 quarter was $9.0 billion, an increase of $1.4 billion, or 18%, compared to the same period last year.

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  * Passenger revenue increased 19%, or $1.3 billion, compared to the prior year period on 2% higher capacity.  Passenger unit revenue (PRASM) increased 16%, driven by a 16% improvement in yield.
  * Cargo revenue increased 28%, or $50 million, on both higher volume and yield.
  * Other, net revenue increased 9%, or $75 million, primarily due to baggage fees.

“Delta’s revenue performance exceeded our expectations for the quarter, with especially strong performance from our international markets,” said Ed Bastian, Delta’s president.  “We see demand strength through the holiday period and expect solid year over year unit revenue growth for the December quarter.”

Cost Performance

In the September 2010 quarter, Delta’s operating expense increased $577 million year over year due to higher fuel price, profit sharing expense and maintenance expense, which were partially offset by incremental merger cost synergies.

Consolidated unit cost (CASM(2)), excluding fuel, profit sharing and special items, was flat in the September 2010 quarter on a year-over-year basis, on 2% higher capacity.  Consolidated CASM increased 6% due to higher fuel price and profit sharing expense.

Non-operating expenses excluding special items decreased $23 million on lower debt discount amortization from Delta’s debt reduction initiatives.  Including special items, non-operating expenses were $254 million higher than the prior year quarter due to a primarily non-cash loss on extinguishment of debt, including the write-off of unamortized debt discount recorded as part of the Northwest merger.

Fuel Price and Related Hedges

Delta hedged 51% of its fuel consumption for the September 2010 quarter, for an average fuel price(3) of $2.29 per gallon.

Liquidity Position

As of Sep. 30, 2010, Delta had $5.5 billion in unrestricted liquidity, including $3.9 billion in cash and short-term investments and $1.6 billion in undrawn revolving credit facilities.  During the September 2010 quarter, operating cash flow was $515 million, driven by the company’s profitability partially offset by the normal seasonal decline in advance ticket sales.  Free cash flow was $150 million in the September 2010 quarter. 

Capital expenditures during the quarter were $360 million, which included $305 million for investments in aircraft, parts and modifications.

In the September 2010 quarter, Delta successfully completed $750 million in debt reduction and delevering initiatives.  The initiatives included successfully tendering for $300 million of the company’s debt, achieving $160 million of debt relief through vendor negotiations, repurchasing $153 million in debt through open market transactions and private purchases, calling $75 million of 9.5% Senior Secured Notes due 2014 and reducing the company’s lease expense by purchasing aircraft off lease.

Debt maturities in the September 2010 quarter were $295 million.  The company issued $225 million of debt for aircraft purchases.  At Sep. 30, Delta’s adjusted net debt was $15.2 billion, a $400 million reduction from June 30, 2010.

“Building a solid financial foundation through debt reduction and cost discipline is a cornerstone of Delta’s strategy,” said Hank Halter, Delta’s chief financial officer.  “Through the hard work of the Delta team, we have lowered our adjusted net debt by nearly $2 billion since the end of 2009 and will reduce our non-fuel unit costs by 1% for the year.”

Company Highlights

Delta has a strong commitment to employees, customers and the communities it serves.  Key accomplishments in 2010 to date include:

  * Accruing $275 million in employee profit sharing to date, in recognition of the achievements of all Delta employees toward meeting the company’s financial targets;
  * Unveiling plans for a $1.2 billion enhancement and expansion project at John F. Kennedy International Airport to create a state-of-the-art facility.  Delta also introduced improvements to the Sky Club experience at New York-JFK with the introduction of full-service made-to-order meals and premium beverage service and is reinventing the customer dining experience at New York’s LaGuardia Airport with the introduction of 13 new food and beverage concepts;
  * Expanding Delta’s network to offer customers the routes they want and need to do business worldwide.  Additions to the network include more frequencies between Delta’s US gateways and London-Heathrow, new service to Tokyo-Haneda beginning in February 2011 and increased service to Africa where Delta serves more destinations than any other US carrier;
  * Enhancing Delta’s global alliance network with TAROM, Romania’s flag carrier, and Vietnam Airlines joining SkyTeam and supporting the decision of China Eastern and China Airlines to join SkyTeam in 2011;
  * Signing a new codesharing agreement with Hawaiian Airlines that will offer Delta’s customers access to connecting flights within the Hawaiian Islands;
  * Issuing Delta’s Corporate Responsibility Report detailing the company’s environmental, safety and community service performance over the past two years, including reducing annual CO2 emissions and implementing the airline industry’s first comprehensive in-flight recycling program;
  * Launching a new advertising campaign reflecting Delta’s commitment to face the daily challenges of making flying better.  The campaign began in New York and is expanding to other cities, including Atlanta, London and Tokyo;
  * Launching the industry’s first social media ‘Ticket Window’ to permit bookings directly from Delta’s Facebook page and other social media sites; and
  * Promoting awareness of breast cancer research with a new Boeing 767-400 signature “pink plane;” online with a virtual lemonade stand on Facebook and SkyMiles donations to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation when customers download the Delta iPhone application or use the app to check in; and onboard by donating proceeds from pink lemonade and jelly bean sales.


Special Items

Delta recorded special items totaling a $566 million charge in the September 2010 quarter, including:

  * $360 million in primarily non-cash loss on extinguishment of debt;
  * $153 million in costs related to the Comair fleet reduction; and
  * $53 million in merger-related expenses.


Delta recorded special items totaling a $212 million charge in the September 2009 quarter, including:

  * $83 million in non-cash loss on extinguishment of debt;
  * $78 million in merger-related expenses; and
  * $51 million in severance and related costs.