Delta Air Lines, Inc. (DAL – Free Report) reported first-quarter 2018 earnings per share (excluding 3 cents from non-recurring items) of 74 cents, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 73 cents. Earnings, however, decreased 3.9% on a year-over-year basis.

How Was the Estimate Revision Trend?

Investors should note that the earnings estimate revisions for Delta depicted a gloomy picture prior to the earnings release. The stock had seen the Zacks Consensus Estimate for fourth-quarter earnings being revised 5.2% over the last 30 days.

The company, however, has an impressive earnings history having outperformed the Zacks Consensus Estimate three of the last four quarters with an average beat of 3.8%.

Delta Air Lines, Inc. Price and EPS Surprise

Delta Air Lines, Inc. Price and EPS Surprise | Delta Air Lines, Inc. Quote

Revenues Better Than Expected

Delta recorded operating revenues of $9,968 million, which beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $9,881.2 million. Also, it compared favorably with the year-ago number of $9,148 million.

Key Stats to Note: The airline behemoth witnessed a 4.3% rise in consolidated passenger revenue per available seat mile (PRASM: a key measure of unit revenue) in the quarter. For the second quarter of 2018, the carrier expects earnings per share between $1.80 and $2. The carrier anticipates pre-tax margin in the range of 14% to 16% in the quarter. The estimated fuel price, including taxes and refinery impact, is expected in the range of $2.07 to $2.12 per gallon for the second quarter. Total unit revenue, excluding refinery sales, is anticipated to increase in the 3-5% range in the second quarter. System capacity is expected to be up approximately 3-4% on a year over year basis. Cost per Available Seat Mile (normalized), excluding fuel and profit sharing, is expected to increase in the band of 1-3% in the second quarter.

Zacks Rank: Currently, Delta Air Lines has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) but that could change following the company’s earnings report which was just released. 

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