Delta: Traffic, Revenue Figures Rise Modestly


Delta Air Lines Inc. reported Monday that passengers flew more miles and a key revenue measure rose slightly in comparison with the same month last year.

The airline said the 2 percent increase in revenue for each seat flown one mile was due to strong trans-Atlantic traffic and business travel in New York and Atlanta.

The same figure rose 5.5 percent this September and also in October 2012.

Cowen and Co. analyst Helane Becker said the airlines would have a difficult time matching last year’s increases in the revenue figure because Hurricane Sandy caused canceled flights last October. When flights are canceled, the revenue figure often rises, because airlines put displaced passengers on other planes, making the remaining flights more full.

Shares of Atlanta-based Delta, the world’s second-biggest airline behind United, rose 80 cents, or 3 percent, to close at $27.44 Monday.

Delta’s worldwide traffic rose 1.4 percent in October, as passengers flew 16.26 billion miles. That includes fliers on Delta Connection regional flights.

Travel within the U.S. slipped 0.2 percentage points, but international travel increased 3.9 percent, including an 18.3 percent gain in flying to and from Latin America.

Passenger-carrying capacity rose 3.6 percent. Airlines usually boost capacity by operating more flights or using bigger planes.

With capacity rising faster than traffic, average occupancy dipped to 82.9 percent, from 84.6 percent in October 2012. The increase in empty seats occurred mostly on domestic flights.

For the first 10 months of the year, Delta’s traffic rose 0.8 percent, capacity increased 0.7 percent, and the average flight was unchanged at 84 percent full.