Profits at America’s second-biggest airline by revenue fell by 18% in 2017. But Delta has sustained a far higher level of profitability than archrivals American and United Continental: Its operating margin of 15% reigns as best of the Big Three. Its in-house portfolio of refineries has helped it hold its own in the face of sharply rising fuel costs; Delta’s jet fuel bill rose 13% in 2017, beating the industry average by around seven points. It also kept a tight rein on wages and benefits, which rose only 4%, in line with revenues, and a new partnership with Aeromexico is off to a strong start. Delta’s biggest edge is its ability to win rich fares from business travelers. It controls more than 70% of the traffic at four major commercial markets: Atlanta, Detroit, and Minneapolis, and over 50% in Salt Lake City. Its dominance in those hubs shields Delta’s margins from inroads from budget competitors such as Southwest.
Looking for leads, investment insights, or competitive intelligence?
News about Delta Air Lines
With the government shutdown's impact on airports, there hasn't been a calm before the storm.
Delta shares also slipped on Tuesday morning.
A new definition of travel hell?
"Civil aviation supports more than 7% of the U.S. gross domestic product and $1.5 trillion of economic impact," said the letter from aviation organizations to Trump and congressional leaders.
Precious overhead bag space might be even harder for some to secure.