Delta Air Lines: SMEs continue to lead recovery in business travel

14 October, 2021

Delta Air Lines reported (13-Oct-2021) the following financial highlights from 3Q2021:

  • Domestic and short haul Latin premium product revenue continued to outperform with recovery outpacing main cabin by approximately 10pp. This was driven by an increase in paid premium cabin load factors relative to 3Q2019, despite business travel being less than 50% recovered. This relative outperformance is expected to be reflected at a system level as premium revenue in other entities improves with the return of business and international travel at scale;
  • Corporate volumes improved in Jul-2021 but paused at approximately 40% recovered compared to 3Q2019 as corporations delayed the reopening of offices due to the COVID-19 variant. This was a 10pp improvement sequentially from 2Q2021 but below expectations set at the outset of the quarter. With the decline in COVID-19 case counts, Delta saw improving domestic corporate volumes exiting Sep-2021 and that improvement continues in Oct-2021. Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) continue to lead the recovery in business travel;
  • American Express remuneration exceeded 3Q2019 levels on co brand spend that was nearly 15pp higher than 2019 and acquisitions that were approximately 95% restored to 2019. Strong portfolio spend more than offset travel related remuneration. The company expects total
    remuneration to remain above 4Q2019 levels in 4Q2021;
  • Cargo revenue increased to USD262 million, a 39% improvement compared to 3Q2019. This represents the fourth consecutive quarter of growth compared to 2019 comparable periods;
  • Cargo strength relative to 2019 is expected to continue in 4Q2021 as constraints in global air cargo capacity during the peak holiday shipping period support continued yield strength;
  • Total operating expenses, adjusted of USD7.8 billion increased 12% sequentially, primarily driven by non fuel costs from the continued restoration of the airline. [more - original PR]