Delta Air Lines Forecasts Strong Christmas Amidst Surging International Travel

In a bullish outlook, Delta Air Lines’ top executives are anticipating robust international travel demand as consumers prioritize experiences over material possessions. CEO Ed Bastain shared at the Morgan Stanley Global Consumer Conference that the airline witnessed substantial revenue during Thanksgiving, and the trend is expected to continue with a powerful close to 2023 during the Christmas season.

Bastain specifically highlighted the strength in transatlantic travel, projecting robust advanced bookings into January and February, with a further surge anticipated in March.

The positive sentiments from Delta’s leadership resonated well with investors, propelling the carrier’s shares up by 5%, and contributing to a 4% gain for competitors United Airlines, American Airlines, and Southwest Airlines.

Delta Air Lines reaffirmed its yearly forecast, expecting profits in the range of $6 to $6.25 per share, with a total revenue increase of about 20%. The company maintains an operating margin forecast of approximately 11.5% for 2023.

Citi analyst Stephen Trent expressed encouragement at Delta’s commitment, stating, “We are very encouraged that Buy-rated Delta Air Lines has reiterated its full-year EPS guidance.”

However, industry analysts have been urging airlines to consider capacity cuts to safeguard pricing power amidst signs of softening domestic demand. In response to these concerns, Delta President Glen Hauenstein highlighted that while U.S. airline industry capacity expanded by 11% in October, he expects domestic seat growth to remain flat in January.

Buoyed by a robust November, Delta is gearing up for a busy winter holiday travel period from December 21 to January 7, expecting to welcome nearly 9 million passengers. The airline’s commitment to delivering a world-class experience during high-volume travel days reflects its focus on safety, cleanliness, and punctuality.

Chief Operating Officer Mike Spanos assured that Delta’s global team and partners are prepared to connect millions of people seamlessly and safely during the holiday season. With a strong operational foundation, the airline’s Operations and Customer Center serves as its “mission control,” ensuring efficient communication and adjustment of plans, even in the face of weather challenges.

Travelers are encouraged to arrive at the airport at least three hours before their flights, with additional time recommended for the busiest days during the holiday period. Delta remains dedicated to providing a top-notch travel experience amid heightened demand.

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