Delta said adjusted earnings for the three months ended in September came in at $2.32 per share, up 29% from the same period last year and 5 cents ahead of the Street consensus forecast. Group net revenues, Delta said, rose 6.5% to $12.6 billion, largely in line with analysts' estimates.
The carrier said it sees current quarter earnings in the region of $1.20 to $1.50 per share, and expects revenues to grow by more than 5% from the prior year period. Looking into the 2019 fiscal year, Delta has earnings guidance in a range of $6.75 to $7.25 per share and a full-year pre-tax profit margin improvement of between 14.5% and 16.5%.
Delta shares ended the session 1.52% lower at $53.410 each Thursday, in trading Thursday, a move that trimmed their year-to-date gain to around 6.41%.
Bastian also told CNBC Thursday that it might take "longer than people think" for Boeing's (BA - Get Report) troubled 727 MAX jet to return to service, and suggested it may be brought back into the carrier's schedule in January of next year, a timetable that echoes a similar assessment from rival American Airlines Group (AAL) .
Last week, Delta steered investors into today's third quarter earnings release with September activity data that showed overall system capacity rose around 4% from last year, the company said, while the adjusted growth for TRASM, a key industry metric that measures revenues for available seat miles, was pegged at 2.5%.