Delta Air Lines (DAL) - Get Report posted first-quarter earnings on Wednesday that surpassed analysts' expectations as it skirted recent economic fallout from Boeing's (BA) - Get Report 737 MAX issues.
The Atlanta-based airline said it earned 96 cents a share on an adjusted basis, compared with an average of 90 cents expected by analysts polled by FactSet. Revenue for the quarter was $10.47 billion, compared with forecasts of $10.42 billion.
On an unadjusted basis, the company's profits jumped 31% to $730 million, or $1.09 a share, up from $557 million, or 79 cents a share, in the year-earlier period.
Investors were expecting a strong quarter from Delta, especially after it raised its earnings and revenue guidance last week, citing healthy demand that helped drive record performance.
"Demand for Delta's product has never been stronger," President Glen Hauenstein said in a statement. "With our customer-focused commercial initiatives delivering strong customer loyalty and top-line momentum, we now expect full-year revenue growth of 5% to 7%, an increase from our prior guidance."
That increase is expected to come from continued passenger traffic and ongoing benefits from its loyalty programs, in particular its American Express contract renewal, which will help the airline in "achieving its full-year plan of top-line growth, margin expansion and double-digit earnings growth," the company said.
Notably, the airline escaped the fallout from the grounding of Boeing 737 MAX jets, which has affected other carriers who have been forced to cancel flights and switch to other types of airplanes to make up for not being able to use them.
Delta shares gained 2% in early trading on Wednesday, rising $1.11 to $58.06 in New York.