Delta raises sales forecast to pre-pandemic levels as demand and fares rise

Delta planes are seen at John F. Kennedy International Airport during the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant in Queens, New York City, U.S., December 26, 2021.

Jeenah Moon | Reuters

Delta Airlines expects its revenue to return to 2019 levels this quarter as soaring travel demand and higher fares have helped it cover soaring fuel costs, the carrier said in a filing today. Wednesday.

The Atlanta-based airline updated its forecast less than a week after announcing it would cut its schedule to try and prevent flight disruptions that affected tens of thousands of passengers last month. The airline has been more cautious in expanding its schedule than its competitors.

However, hundreds of flights operated by Delta and other airlines were canceled or delayed over the important Memorial Day weekend.

Delta had previously forecast sales up to 7% below pre-pandemic levels. The company also raised its profit margin outlook for the second quarter despite higher fuel and other expenses.

Its shares fell more than 3% in morning trading. Other carriers also offer lower deals.

Consumers show they’re willing to shell out more for airline tickets after halting travel for two years during the pandemic. In some cases, demand returned faster than service providers expected. That has prompted airlines to include Southwest, JetBlue, Morale and Alaska cut their schedules to tackle challenges from not enough people and bad weather.

American Airlines has been more aggressive than Delta and United in restoring capacity to pre-pandemic levels. In a notice to employees on Tuesday, the company said it had managed to perform relatively well over the weekend despite operating a 28 percent larger flight schedule than its closest competitor.

David Seymour, CEO of America, stressed the importance of providing reliability as more and more people return to air travel.

“The key to our success this summer and beyond is running a reliable operation,” he wrote.

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