The Atlanta-based airline reported adjusted earnings of $1.80 per share, topping forecasts of $1.74 per share. Revenue rose 8% to $11.95 billion. Passenger revenue per available seat mile, a key industry metric, rose 4.3% year over year.
Shares of Delta rose 5.4% to $52.40 at 2:00 p.m. New York time, the third best performer among the S&P 500.
"Our solid eight percent revenue growth, combined with flat non-fuel unit cost performance, helped offset 85% of the $655 million fuel cost increase in the quarter," Chief Executive Officer Ed Bastian said in a statement. "Our commercial momentum and improved cost trajectory give us confidence that we are on a path to deliver continued top-line growth and expand margins as we move into 2019."
"The economy is healthy, demand is very healthy for the Delta products," Chief Financial Officer Paul Jacobson said during the conference call with analysts. "To the extent oil prices were to continue to rise, we expect to be able to pass along the cost of that."
Delta expects fourth-quarter earnings between $1.10 and $1.30 a share, relatively in line with analysts' expectations of $1.24 a share.