Dec 12 Delta Air Lines said on Wednesday
that it expected profit growth in 2013 and would introduce a
plan to return cash to shareholders.
Chief Executive Officer Richard Anderson said during the
carrier's investor meeting webcast that Delta, the No. 2 U.S.
airline behind United Continental Holdings Inc, expected
a profit of $1.6 billion for this year. He said 2013 would bring
a "solid improvement" over 2012.
Delta said it expected fourth-quarter earnings of $200
million to $250 million, excluding items, despite disruptions
caused by superstorm Sandy. The storm barreled through the U.S.
Northeast in late October and led airlines to cancel thousands
of flights as major New York area airports shut down.
The carrier said it expected to announce a capital
deployment strategy next year, with the program starting in
U.S. carriers have merged, stopped flying unprofitable
routes and raised ticket prices to recover in recent years.
Airlines have also created new revenue streams with baggage and
food fees, moves that have helped deliver profits in the face of
volatile fuel prices.
Delta supports industry consolidation, Anderson said,
predicting that AMR Corp's American Airlines and US
Airways Group Inc will reach a deal soon. The two
airlines are in talks on a potential merger.
Delta, which acquired Northwest Airlines in 2008, has cut
costs while positioning itself for growth. Just on Tuesday, it
announced the purchase of a 49 percent stake in British carrier
Virgin Atlantic and a joint venture that will give it expanded
access at London's Heathrow Airport.