airplaneFor the month of February, Delta Air Lines Co. (NYSE: DAL) raised its revenue per mile for each passenger carried by 5%, compared with February a year ago. It is a good thing everyone paid more, because there have been fewer passengers in the seats.

Passenger revenue was down 2.2% year-over-year in February, and average miles flown were down 5%. The good news was that load factor was up 2.2% over Delta's whole system. The total number of passengers boarded fell 2.8% year-over-year.

But, as Delta's CEO told an investment conference today, the company expects to turn its first profit in a first fiscal quarter since 2000. Delta and the other major U.S. carriers have been trimming their routes over the past three years in an effort to boost load factors on the remaining routes. Unprofitable routes have been mercilessly cut and competition among the major U.S. carriers remains fierce.

Delta's shares are up about 4% shortly before noon today, at $15.41, a new 52-week high. The prior 52-week range was $8.42 to $15.08.


Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Airlines Tagged: DAL, featured

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