Delta Air Lines (DAL) earnings for Q1 2023 missed expectations but saw its 10 highest cash sales days in the company’s history as passenger volumes eclipsed pre-pandemic levels for the entirety of the first quarter.
Adjusted net income: $163 million vs $184.31 million expected (according to consensus estimates compiled by Bloomberg)
Adjusted earnings per share: $0.25 vs $0.29 expected
Revenue: $11.84 billion vs $11.99 billion expected
“Our revenues and earnings EPS were all in line with the guidance that we presented at the start of the quarter,” Delta CEO Ed Bastian told Yahoo Finance. “So given all the uncertainty and some of the volatility that we see and what seasonally is our weakest quarter of the year, we were quite pleased and thought it was a real solid performance.”
Delta stock rose 4% in premarket trading on Thursday.
The results followed a financial forewarning from a fellow airline operator: On Wednesday, American Airlines revealed that Q1 earnings per share would likely end the period below consensus expectations.
During Q1 2023, TSA passenger volumes averaged above the pre-pandemic markers. The travel industry has benefitted from consumers opting to dive into the experience economy as leisure and hospitality businesses chart a full recovery from a COVID-induced abrupt halt.
An average of 2,114,088 passengers were screened every day during the first three months of the year, which tops the average of 2,107,762 passengers during the first three months of 2019.
While economists weigh the risks of an ever-telegraphed, yet unpunctual recession, travel industry executives maintain that demand is here to stay.
“I think what you’re going to see is a multi year resurgence in travel that’s going to continue,” Bastian said. “And I don’t see anything in the economic outlook that suggests that travel is going to be stalled.”
And as airline operators work to reach pre-pandemic capacity, they are also attempting to reestablish active duty pilots and reserves to dispatch.
“We’ve hired over the last couple of years between three and 4000 pilot. So we largely are where we need to be,” Bastian said, later adding: “We’ve got most of our big training events already behind us and we’ll be able to put more and more pilots into the operation which gives us the ability to fly a bigger schedule.”
Brad Smith is an anchor at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @thebradsmith.