Delta's (DAL) - Get Report  profit in 2017 should reach $6 billion, the third year in a row the carrier has reached that level, CEO Ed Bastian said Thursday.

Three consecutive years of $6 billion of profit is "something the industry has never seen before," Bastian told FOX Business Network's Maria Bartiromo, as Delta prepared to host its annual investor day on Thursday morning.

Bastian said the airline industry's traffic patterns have shown a "post-election rally."

"I'm sensing real optimism," he said. Before the election, he said, "People were pulling back."

Early in the year, Bastian said Delta was "struggling with pricing {but} in the last few months we seemed to find a good floor." Although ticket prices have fallen 5% in the past year, fuel prices have also fallen, Bastian said.

Now, labor costs are rising, but Bastian expects that next year ticket prices will "rise a bit in line with inflation."

Looking beyond 2017, Bastian said 2018 profit should be even higher. "All we need to get is pricing back to where it was a few years ago," he said at the investor conference.

Delta now projects a 3% increase in passenger revenue per available seat mile in the current quarter, according to slides prepared for investor day. The carrier said current-quarter operating margin will be between 10.5% and 11%, an increase from previous guidance of between 9.5% and 10.5%.

Asked what he thinks about President-elect Donald Trump's statement that Boeing (BA) - Get Report was overcharging for Air Force One, Bastian told Bartiromo, "I wouldn't have a clue as to what one of those costs."

However, he noted that Delta is the second-largest Boeing customer in the world. "We negotiate with Boeing all the time," he said.

Delta shares were rising 3% in early trading Thursday.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.