Incoming Delta CEO Ed Bastian briefed Wall Street analysts and investors Tuesday on Delta’s performance and outlined the company’s momentum heading into the rest of 2016.
“Delta had an outstanding 2015,” Bastian said during a presentation at the J.P. Morgan Aviation, Transportation and Industrials conference in New York. “Delta’s employees knocked the ball out of the park in respect to performance.”
Bastian forecast a strong year in 2016, with the combination of a fuel price tailwind, modest capacity growth and help from revenue and cost initiatives. The airline, he said, is benefitting from a restructuring of its business model that has positioned Delta to consistently produce profit and cash flow amid the ups and downs of the economic cycle.
“This has been a 10-year journey to get Delta where it’s at,” he said. The airline “will have durability and sustainability for the future.”
The March quarter is expected to produce another record profit, he said, with an operating margin of 18 to 20 percent – an improvement of more than 10 percentage points over the same period a year ago.
For the year, Delta’s capacity is expected to grow from zero to 2 percent, with growth focused on markets with strong demand, including the U.S., the U.K., Mexico and the Caribbean, offsetting reductions in weaker markets like Brazil, Japan and the Middle East, he said.
“We have great momentum going into the rest of the year,” he said.
A replay of the webcast of the event, and Bastian's full presentation, are available here on Delta’s Investor Relations site.