MIAMI – Delta Air Lines announced a net pretax profit of $952 million for the fourth quarter of 2016 this morning, as well as a pretax net profit of $6.6 billion for the full year. Top line revenue for the full year was down about 2.6% year-over-year (YOY) to $39.6 billion while top line expenses also dipped 0.7% YOY in the same period. The seat-mile metrics were a bit rough, with unit revenue dropping 4.9% and unit costs only compensating with a 2.6% drop. Still, it was another excellent quarter and year for Delta contextually – $3.8 billion of free cash flow for a US airline is excellent by any historical standard.
Our Senior Business Analyst Vinay Bhaskara live-blogged the earnings call earlier this morning. His main takeaway from the call and Delta’s earnings was:
Overall, another excellent quarter for Delta. The aggregate numbers are great as always, $6.6 billion net pretax profit, $3.8 billion in free cash flow, a billion in profit sharing, and a billion in pension contributions. The key question that arises is will the broader revenue environment allow Delta to generate enough PRASM growth to offset the really, really rich pilot contract. I will keep beating the drum on that risk around labor contracts until someone listens. But overall I’m happy with Delta’s current strategic approach, and it was another good quarter and year for Delta given the economic environment for airlines.
You can read a full recap of the Delta earnings call below, via the ReplyAll tool.