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Delta Air Lines announces December quarter and full year 2023 financial results

Delta delivered industry-leading operational performance and financial results in the December quarter and generated record full year revenue and over $5 billion of pre-tax income, a near doubling over 2022.

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Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL) today reported financial results for the December quarter and full year 2023 and provided its outlook for the March quarter and full year 2024.  Highlights of the December quarter and full year 2023, including both GAAP and adjusted metrics, are on page six and incorporated here.

“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.  We are thrilled to recognize their outstanding work with $1.4 billion in profit sharing payments next month,” said Ed Bastian, Delta’s chief executive officer.  “In 2024, demand for air travel remains strong and our customer base is in a healthy financial position with travel a top priority.  We expect to grow full year earnings to $6 to $7 per share and generate free cash flow of $3 to $4 billion, further strengthening our financial foundation.”

December Quarter 2023 GAAP Financial Results

  • Operating revenue of $14.2 billion
  • Operating income of $1.3 billion with an operating margin of 9.3 percent
  • Pre-tax income of $2.3 billion with a pre-tax margin of 16.0 percent
  • Earnings per share of $3.16
  • Operating cash flow of $545 million
  • Payments on debt and finance lease obligations of $361 million

December Quarter 2023 Adjusted Financial Results

  • Operating revenue of $13.7 billion, 11 percent higher than the December quarter 2022
  • Operating income of $1.3 billion with an operating margin of 9.7 percent
  • Pre-tax income of $1.1 billion with a pre-tax margin of 7.8 percent
  • Earnings per share of $1.28
  • Operating cash flow of $499 million

Full Year 2023 GAAP Financial Results

  • Operating revenue of $58.0 billion
  • Operating income of $5.5 billion with an operating margin of 9.5 percent
  • Pre-tax income of $5.6 billion with a pre-tax margin of 9.7 percent
  • Earnings per share of $7.17
  • Operating cash flow of $6.5 billion
  • Payments on debt and finance lease obligations of $4.1 billion
  • Total debt and finance lease obligations of $20.1 billion at year end

Full Year 2023 Adjusted Financial Results

  • Operating revenue of $54.7 billion, 20 percent higher than the full year 2022
  • Operating income of $6.3 billion with an operating margin of 11.6 percent
  • Pre-tax income of $5.2 billion with a pre-tax margin of 9.5 percent
  • Earnings per share of $6.25
  • Operating cash flow of $7.2 billion
  • Free cash flow of $2.0 billion
  • Adjusted debt to EBITDAR of 3.0x, down from 5.0x at the end of 2022
  • Return on invested capital of 13.4 percent, up 5 points over 2022

Read the full release on PR Newswire or via download.

Forward Looking Statements

Statements made in this press release that are not historical facts, including statements regarding our estimates, expectations, beliefs, intentions, projections, goals, aspirations, commitments or strategies for the future, should be considered “forward-looking statements” under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, and the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements are not guarantees or promised outcomes and should not be construed as such. All forward-looking statements involve a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from the estimates, expectations, beliefs, intentions, projections, goals, aspirations, commitments and strategies reflected in or suggested by the forward-looking statements. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, the impact of incurring significant debt in response to the COVID-19 pandemic; failure to comply with the financial and other covenants in our financing agreements; the possible effects of accidents involving our aircraft or aircraft of our airline partners; breaches or lapses in the security of technology systems on which we rely, which could compromise the data stored within them, as well as failure to comply with ever-evolving global privacy and security regulatory obligations or adequately address increasing customer focus on privacy issues and data security; disruptions in our information technology infrastructure; our dependence on technology in our operations; our commercial relationships with airlines in other parts of the world and the investments we have in certain of those airlines; the effects of a significant disruption in the operations or performance of third parties on which we rely; failure to realize the full value of intangible or long-lived assets; labor issues; the effects on our business of seasonality and other factors beyond our control, including severe weather conditions, natural disasters or other environmental events, including from the impact of climate change; changes in the cost of aircraft fuel; extended disruptions in the supply of aircraft fuel, including from Monroe Energy, LLC (“Monroe”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Delta; failure or inability of insurance to cover a significant liability at Monroe’s Trainer refinery; failure to comply with existing and future environmental regulations to which Monroe’s refinery operations are subject, including costs related to compliance with renewable fuel standard regulations; significant damage to our reputation and brand, including from exposure to significant adverse publicity or inability to achieve certain sustainability goals; our ability to retain senior management and other key employees, and to maintain our company culture; disease outbreaks, such as the COVID-19 pandemic or similar public health threats, and measures implemented to combat them; the effects of terrorist attacks, geopolitical conflict or security events; competitive conditions in the airline industry; extended interruptions or disruptions in service at major airports at which we operate or significant problems associated with types of aircraft or engines we operate; the effects of extensive government regulation we are subject to; the impact of environmental regulation, including but not limited to increased regulation to reduce emissions and other risks associated with climate change, and the cost of compliance with more stringent environmental regulations; and unfavorable economic or political conditions in the markets in which we operate or volatility in currency exchange rates.

Additional information concerning risks and uncertainties that could cause differences between actual results and forward-looking statements is contained in our Securities and Exchange Commission filings, including our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022. Caution should be taken not to place undue reliance on our forward-looking statements, which represent our views only as of the date of this press release, and which we undertake no obligation to update except to the extent required by law.

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