Delta’s (DAL) persistent efforts to enhance operational efficiency paid off well in the recent quarters when the airline recorded strong results despite margins being squeezed by the soaring gasoline prices.
However, fuel prices climbed further to a multi-year high since the last earnings report and the sector witnessed a slump in activity in the most recent quarter owing to the impact of Hurricane Florence. Worryingly, it is estimated that Delta’s operating costs increased at a faster pace in the recent months.
However, the company seems to have achieved exactly what is needed to absorb the impact of the adverse market conditions on profitability. In July, August and September, passenger traffic rose to the highest ever recorded for the respective months. That could translate into better than expected earnings growth in the third quarter.
When the Atlanta, Georgia-based company reports its third-quarter earnings Thursday at 7:00 AM, Wall Street will be looking for earnings of $1.76 per share, which was revised down from $1.78 per share, estimated by analysts a week ago, to reflect the cost-related pressure.
In July, August and September, passenger traffic rose to the highest ever recorded for the respective months
The current revenue forecast for the third quarter is $11.97 billion. The management is expected to provide an updated outlook during the post-earnings conference call scheduled to be held at 10:00 AM Thursday.
Delta registered an 11% increase in earnings in the second quarter when total sales rose about 10%. It is widely expected that the company will continue to post double-digit profit growth for the rest of the year.
United Continental (UAL) is scheduled to report its third-quarter earnings on October 16 after the closing bell. Among others, American Airlines (AAL) and Southwest (LUV) will be presenting the numbers for their most recent quarter on October 25.
Shares of Delta gained about 4% over the past twelve months but lost 7% since the beginning of the year. The stock opened Tuesday’s trading session lower. Taking a cue from the downward trend in price, an overwhelming majority of analysts have given the stock a ‘buy’ rating, which is quite unusual going by the current standard.