Delta Air Lines has reported financial results for the December quarter and full year 2018.
Adjusted pre-tax income for the December quarter 2018 was US$1.2 billion driven by over US$700 million of revenue growth, allowing the company to fully recapture the US$508 million increase in adjusted fuel expense and produce an 11% adjusted pre-tax margin. Adjusted earnings per share increased by 42% year over year to US$1.30.
For the full year, adjusted pre-tax income was US$5.1 billion, a US$137 million decrease relative to 2017 as the company overcame approximately 90% of the US$2 billion increase in fuel expense. Full year adjusted earnings per share were US$5.65, up 19% compared to the prior year as the company recognized benefits from tax reform and a four percent lower share count.
Delta’s adjusted operating revenue of US$10.7 billion for the December quarter improved 7.5%, or US$747 million versus the prior year. Total unit revenues excluding refinery sales (TRASM, adjusted) increased 3.2% during the period driven by healthy leisure and corporate demand offsetting an approximately 0.5 point headwind from unfavorable foreign exchange rates.
For the full year, adjusted operating revenue grew to nearly US$44 billion, up 8% versus prior year on an increasingly diverse revenue base, with 52% of revenues from premium products and non-ticket sources. Premium product ticket revenues increased 14% along with double-digit percentage increases from cargo, loyalty, and Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul revenue.