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Delta profits soar as demand drives ticket prices higher

In this May 24, 2018 photo a Delta Air Lines passenger jet plane, a Boeing 717-200 model, approaches Logan Airport in Boston. (Charles Krupa / Associated Press)
In this May 24, 2018 photo a Delta Air Lines passenger jet plane, a Boeing 717-200 model, approaches Logan Airport in Boston. (Charles Krupa / Associated Press)

ATLANTA – Delta topped third-quarter profit expectations with strong travel demand pushing ticket prices higher.

The Atlanta carrier posted earnings of $1.31 billion, or $1.91 per share. Removing one-time charges, per-share profit was $1.80, which is six cents better than expected, according to a survey by Zacks Investment Research.

Revenue was $11.95 billion, about in line with expectations.

Delta said Thursday that it took a $30 million hit from Hurricane Florence and had a $655 million fuel cost increase in the quarter, but benefited from a lower share count and changes in the tax law.

Hurricane Florence caused at least 3,500 flight cancellations last month, mostly in the Carolinas. Delta said on Sept. 17 that it canceled 275 to that point and was still dealing with disruptions at two airports.

But ticket prices are up across the board, led by business and first-class tickets, where revenues increased almost 20 percent.

Shares of Delta Air Lines Inc. climbed more than 2 percent before the opening bell.


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