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Delta Reports Record Revenue for 2023

The Atlanta-based airline made $54.7 billion in revenue last year.

A Delta Airlines Airbus A320 in Boston. (Photo: AirliineGeeks | William Derrickson)

Delta Air Lines announced final quarter and full-year earnings for 2023 highlighted by a record $54.7 billion in revenue for the calendar year, a 20 percent increase over 2022. Delta’s chief executive officer Ed Bastian heralded the results stating: “2023 was a great year for Delta with industry-leading operational and financial performance. Our people and their commitment to deliver unmatched service excellence for our customers is at the foundation of Delta’s success.”

Delta’s GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) figures indicate a pre-tax income of $5.6 billion (2022: $1.9 billion) with a pre-tax margin of 9.7 percent (2022: 3.8 percent). This will benefit shareholders with an earnings per share of $7.17, up from $2.06 in 2022. Bastian also announced that Delta employees will be recognized for “their outstanding work with $1.4 billion in profit-sharing payments next month.”

Double-digit capacity growth was achieved in Q4 2023 in all three of Delta’s international regions with transatlantic (up 13 percent), pacific (44 percent), and Latin America (28 percent). Revenue growth was also in the double digits for all three regions: transatlantic (up 23 percent), pacific (45 percent), and Latin America (18 percent).

“With industry-leading operational performance and best-in-class service delivered by our people, more customers than ever are choosing Delta,” said Glen Hauenstein, Delta’s president. This translated to record margins for the airline’s international operations in the final quarter of 2023, a seven percent increase in domestic revenues, and a 12 percent increase in domestic capacity over the final quarter of 2022.

From a cost perspective, Delta benefitted from a lower fuel expense in 2023, down 4 percent over 2022, though salaries and related costs increased by 23 percent. This resulted in non-fuel cost per available seat miles (CASM) being 2.3 percent higher year-over-year but total CASM was slightly lower for 2023 than 2022.

Beyond the financial results, Delta highlighted many other achievements in the final quarter and full 2023 calendar year related to the airline’s network, people, customer experience, and ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance).

New Aircraft

The airline took delivery of 43 aircraft during the year including 27 A321neo, nine A220-300, and seven A330-900, and exited its fuel-inefficient CRJ-200s.  Delta’s operational performance was recognized with the carrier being named the ‘most on-time airline in North America’ by Cirium. In addition, the airline achieved a completion factor of 99.8 percent for the final three months of the year. Customers engaged with the ‘Fly Delta’ app at levels up 25 percent from 2022 resulting in over 1 billion annual visits.

Hauenstein indicated a positive start to 2024: “With strong demand for international travel and a positive inflection in the domestic environment, we expect March quarter adjusted revenue to be 3 to 6 percent higher than the prior year.” The airline’s fleet will also expand in the coming years with the announcement of an order of 20 Airbus A350-1000 aircraft to begin arriving in 2026.

John Flett

Author

  • John Flett

    John has always had a passion for aviation and through a career with Air New Zealand has gained a strong understanding of aviation operations and the strategic nature of the industry. During his career with the airline, John held multiple leadership roles and was involved in projects such as the introduction of both the 777-200 and -300 type aircraft and the development of the IFE for the 777-300. He was also part of a small team who created and published the internal communications magazines for Air New Zealand’s pilots, cabin crew and ground staff balancing a mix of corporate and social content. John is educated to postgraduate level achieving a masters degree with Distinction in Airline and Airport Management. John is currently the course director of an undergraduate commercial pilot training programme at a leading London university. In addition he is contracted as an external instructor for IATA (International Air Transport Association) and a member of the Heathrow Community Fund’s ‘Communities for Tomorrow’ panel.

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