Delta Air Lines’ Financial Performance Results In Loss In Q1 of 2023

Delta Air Lines’ financial performance has resulted in the company making a loss in the first quarter of this year. This comes after the company grew from strength to strength last year. In 2022, the company made a profit in the final quarter of $828 million US dollars. In fact, up to and including the final quarter of 2022, the company had been making a profit for 3 consecutive quarters. Delta Air Lines performed well last year in spite of setbacks suffered by all airlines due to the Covid pandemic.

Delta Airlines' Financial Performance Leads to Profit at its Year End
Delta Air Lines performed well last year. © Getty Images

Delta Air Lines’ Financial Performance

As we know, the pandemic took a toll heavily on airlines as restrictions reduced demand for flights. To make matters worse, after restrictions were removed, airlines struggled again as the surge in demand for flights led to mass congestion at airports due to staff shortages. This is because many members of staff had been laid off during the pandemic when demand was less, and there was now a battle to recruit others as many of those who had left were in other fields.

North America was particularly hard hit with mass flight delays and cancellations over the Independence Day weekend last year. Flights in the US, as well as Canada, were particularly affected. In spite of this, Delta Air Lines’ financial performance kept improving, culminating with a 2022 year-end profit of $1.318 billion US dollars.

In terms of the first quarter of 2023, although Delta made a loss, the results are still better than its performance at the same time in 2022. In the three months up to the 31st March 2023, Delta made a loss of $363 million US dollars. In the first quarter of 2022, the loss was $940 million US dollars. The loss in the first quarter of 2022 was more than 2 and a half times the loss in 2023. So in this regard, one could argue that the company has improved. However, given the fact that pandemic restrictions have been lifted and that for the previous three quarters, the company has been making a profit, there may be cause for concern.

Delta Air Lines’ Revenue

In terms of revenue, it does appear that Delta Air Lines’ financial performance has improved with an operating revenue (total money received from services provided) of $12.759 billion US dollars in the three months up to March 31st 2023, when compared to $9.348 billion US dollars for the first quarter of 2022. One can see that operating revenue has improved from the first quarter of last year to the first quarter of this year by 36%. The fact that revenue has improved indicates that Delta Air Lines is becoming more popular with customers.

It is clear, though, that when comparing the first quarter of 2022 to the first quarter of this year, the proportionate reduction in the net loss made is greater than the increase in revenue. This suggests that cost control is in fact better now than before and therefore for the airline to improve further it would have to improve revenue. However, the fact that losses in the first quarter are still being made bodes the question of whether cost control can be managed further during a time period where bookings may be naturally less.

Delta Airlines aircraft
Delta has performed better than at the same time last year. © Getty Images

Although at a loss, Delta Air Lines’s financial performance is better than the same time period in the previous year. However, considering the previous three quarters were profit-making, there is cause for concern.

Delta Air Lines CEO, Ed Bastian, appears to be optimistic due to comparative improvement to the same time last year.

“Thanks to the outstanding work and dedication of the Delta team, 2023 is off to a strong start. We provided well-deserved pay increases for our people and paid more profit sharing than the rest of the industry combined.

Delta is building momentum, with the best people in the industry generating nearly $5 billion of operating profit over the last twelve months”

What do you think about Delta’s recent financial reports? Let us know in the comments below!

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Amuthan Chandrarajan
Amuthan Chandrarajan
Aviation Reporter - Amuthan has a background in residential and commercial real estate. He also has a keen interest in aviation and travel and has visited many countries. Amuthan has a sound knowledge of business and finance.  He has gained a Master of Business Administration and has become a Chartered Management Accountant. 
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