Major US airline Delta Airlines has announced its third quarter (Q3) financial results, which emphasise “record” September revenue and provide a strong outlook for the Q4 period.

The airline, which aims to serve 200 million customers across 2023, reported operating revenue of $14.6bn, demonstrating a 13% increase in comparison to the same period in 2022.

Delta has further disclosed its full-year expectations, which include an adjusted revenue growth of 20% over 2022 with a double-digit operating margin.

The airline said it intends to end the year with pre-tax earnings of over $5bn, more than double its earnings from the previous year.

Delta’s CEO Ed Bastian emphasised the company’s yearly success, which has overseen over $1bn in profit sharing accumulated year to date.

Bastian said: “Thanks to the outstanding work of our entire team, Delta delivered record September quarter revenue and a double-digit operating margin. Our operational reliability continues to strengthen, thanks to our people and I’m pleased to recognise their outstanding efforts, with over $1bn accrued year-to-date towards profit sharing.”

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According to Delta‘s filing, demand in travel is expected to persist into Q4, with total revenue expected to grow 9% to 12% compared to Q4 2022.

Although demand is high, the results represent a slight decrease in US domestic revenue, demonstrating strains across the macroeconomic environment.

As reported by Delta, domestic passenger revenue grew by 6% compared to 2022 on 11% greater capacity and the overall domestic unit revenue decreased by 4% year over year.

Nicholas Wyatt, head of research & analysis, travel and tourism at GlobalData, emphasised how travel trends across the US may have impacted the airline’s financial results.

Wyatt said: “Air travel continues to rebound strongly from the effects of the pandemic and this is clearly a contributing factor to Delta’s results as it helps boost load factors.

“GlobalData forecasts domestic travel by air in the US to grow by 13.2% across 2023. Inbound and outbound travel to and from the US by air are also projected to surge by 64.7% and 42.5% respectively.

“Given Delta’s hub-and-spoke model and excellent international connectivity, it is in a great position to benefit from travel in and out of the US, as well as within the country’s borders.”