October 11, 2018 / 11:00 AM / 10 days ago

Delta profit beats on strong demand, higher ticket prices

Oct 11 (Reuters) - Delta Air Lines reported a third-quarter profit that beat analysts’ estimates on Thursday as a strengthening U.S. economy spurred demand for air travel, helping the airline raise ticket prices.

The No.2 U.S. airline also forecast total unit revenue, a closely watched performance metric, to increase between 3 and 5 percent in the fourth quarter.

Shares of Delta and peers such as American Airlines Group Inc and Southwest Airlines Co have fallen this year as airlines struggle with a spike in fuel costs, with oil prices hovering near 4-year highs.

The carrier’s net income rose to $1.31 billion, or $1.91 per share, in the quarter ended Sept. 30 from $1.16 billion, or $1.61 cents per share, a year earlier.

On an adjusted basis, Delta earned $1.80 per share, beating analysts’ average estimate of $1.74, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Total operating revenue rose to $11.95 billion from $11.06 billion. (Reporting by Tracy Rucinski in Chicago and Ankit Ajmera in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

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