Delta anticipates up to 4.5% PRASM improvement in Q1

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Delta Air Lines anticipates an increase in passenger unit revenue of 4% to 4.5% in the first quarter compared to last year.

This is down slightly from the expected 4.5% to 5.5% year-on-year increase in passenger revenue per available seat mile (PRASM) that Ed Bastian, president of Atlanta-based Delta, outlined in early March.

The carrier anticipates a margin of 2.5% to 3.5% during the quarter, according to an investor update today.

Non-fuel unit costs are expected to increase by 5% to 6% versus 2012. This is also down slightly from guidance of a 6% to 7% increase in March.

Delta anticipates that its average economic cost of fuel was between $3.23 and $3.28 per gallon for the quarter. This includes the impact of hedges and the Trainer refinery.

System capacity was down 2% to 3% during the quarter.