Delta (DAL) Sticks With Profit Outlook as Travel Rebound Advances

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Delta Air Lines Inc. is sticking to its forecast for a profitable third quarter as rising U.S. vaccination rates stoke a resurgence in travel. The carrier still sees a path to profitability by late summer after deep losses from the coronavirus pandemic, Chief Executive Officer Ed Bastian said in an […]

Delta Air Lines Inc. is sticking to its forecast for a profitable third quarter as rising U.S. vaccination rates stoke a resurgence in travel.

The carrier still sees a path to profitability by late summer after deep losses from the coronavirus pandemic, Chief Executive Officer Ed Bastian said in an earnings statement Thursday. A “surge” in demand already helped Delta stop burning cash in March, he said, a sign of improvement after a first quarter in which the company posted a bigger-than-expected loss.

“When I look at the first quarter, what’s been clear is our business has made a turn,” Bastian said in an interview with CNBC. “That turn is active and rebounding” with the increasing vaccination rate.

The steady outlook, which Delta debuted in January, bolsters indications of a broad recovery in air travel as worry about the spread of Covid-19 wanes. American Airlines Group Inc. and United Airlines Holdings Inc. have said their planes are flying with an average 80% of seats filled, and Delta is among carriers that have begun to recall workers from temporary leave as demand increases.

Delta fell less than 1% to $47.79 at 9:33 a.m. in New York. The shares rose 20% this year through Wednesday, the worst among the five largest U.S. airlines. Delta is the first major U.S. carrier to report first-quarter earnings.

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