Delta reports $85m profit in Q1

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Delta Air Lines reports an $85 million net profit excluding special items during the first quarter, reversing from a $39 million net loss a year earlier.

The Atlanta-based carrier made a net profit of $7 million including $78 million in one-time charges. These include a $24 million mark-to-market gain from fuel hedges and $102 million in facility, fleet and other special item charges.

"This performance is proof that we are on the right path to making Delta the airline of choice for our shareholders, employees, and customers," says Richard Anderson, chief executive of Delta, in a statement. "With a solid financial foundation and building momentum from initiatives like our LaGuardia expansion, Virgin Atlantic investment and new terminal 4 at New York-JFK, we are well positioned to generate significant improvements in Delta's profitability going forward."

Operating revenue increased 1% to $8.5 billion and operating expenses rose 3% to $8.28 billion during the quarter versus 2012. Operating income was down 42% to $222 million.

Passenger revenue per available seat mile (PRASM) rose 4% to 13.83 cents and costs per available seat mile (CASM) excluding fuel increased 5% to 9.75 cents.

Delta paid an average of $3.24 per gallon for jet fuel during the quarter, which is down from $3.28 per gallon a year earlier. However, it lost $22 million on the Trainer oil refinery that resulted in a $0.02 increase in its cost of fuel.

Consolidated traffic fell 1% and capacity 3% year-on-year, as the airline removed 51 aircraft from its combined mainline and regional fleet for a total of 719 aircraft at the end of March.