Delta profits jump 18% in ‘12 despite off 4Q

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Delta Air Lines posted an 18% jump in net income for the full year despite a disappointing finish in the fourth quarter.

Full-year profits totalled $1.01 billion compared to $854 billion, but fourth quarter net income dropped from $425 million in 2011 to $7 million this year.

Superstorm Sandy reduced Delta's fourth quarter revenues by an estimated $74 million. But passenger sales in the fourth quarter overall rose 3% to $7.44 billion despite a 3% decline for regional carrier revenues. Yearly passenger revenues grew by 5% to $31.8 billion.

Passenger yields swung in Delta's favour by 2% in the fourth quarter, including a 1% increase in traffic on a 1% decrease in capacity. The full-year results were better, showing a 5% improvement on passenger yields on a 2% reduction in capacity and flat traffic levels.