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Delta Air benefits from US support for Reuters leisure trip

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© Reuters. PHOTO OF THE FILE: Delta Air Lines aircraft are parked at the gates of Hartsfield Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia (USA) on October 27, 2020. REUTERS / Brian Snyder

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(Reuters) -Delta Air Lines made its first quarter earnings on Wednesday since the coronavirus pandemic began, fueled by U.S. government aid and vaccine-driven travel bounces, and said it expects it to be profitable for the full year.

“Travelers (NYSE 🙂 are recovering their lives and returning to heaven,” Delta CEO Ed Bastian told investors, while the company said they are aware of the risks of recovering new COVID-19 variants.

Net income of $ 652 million, or $ 1.02 per share, came in the three months to June 30, with $ 1 billion in government aid to U.S. airline staff salaries as well as a large quarterly revenue increase, which analysts achieved above estimates .

“Home leisure travel has fully recovered to 2019 levels, and signs of improvement in business and international travel are being encouraged,” Bastian said.

Delta’s second-quarter adjusted operating income fell 49% from 2019 to $ 6.355 billion, a significant improvement from a 60.4% drop in the first quarter and above analysts ’average of $ 6.22 billion.

Excluding items such as government payroll support, the company lost $ 1.07 per share in the second quarter.

Delta’s results, the first by a major U.S. airline in the quarter, after it was announced on Tuesday, will add 36 aircraft starting next year through its agreements with leasing aircraft in its fleet.

27 Boeing (NYSE 🙂 will buy 737-900ER from funds managed by Castlelake and finance two more with Castlelake, while leasing seven wide-body Airbus A350s from AirCap.

As people suffering from the pandemic are looking for a holiday, passenger traffic has reached its highest level since March 2020, forcing U.S. carriers to balance their fleet and help recover workers last year.

Delta said it has hired thousands of people during the quarter and continues to hire them.

Corporate travel volumes also improved in the second quarter and could recover 60% by September as more offices reopen, Bastian said.

One segment that remains weak, however, is international travel, as the United States continues to restrict entry for many travelers, even from Europe, one of the largest markets in the Delta.

“It’s a source of frustration for us with great passion,” Bastian said.

Shares lost 2% in mid-day trading as they declined on opening gains due to pressure from travel stocks.

Looking ahead, Delta said adjusted operating income in the September quarter will fall by 30% and 35% over the past two years, with a midpoint of $ 8.47 billion, above the Refinitiv-IBES estimate of $ 8.23 ​​billion.

Rival American Airlines (NASDAQ 🙂 said it could deliver small gains in the second quarter on Tuesday, including special items such as government aid.

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