For the three months ending in June, thanks to government coronavirus aid that offset part of its expenditures, the Atlanta-based airline generated a profit of $652 million, ending a five-quarter losing run.
The figure was boosted by $1.5 billion in government benefits from the first and second extensions of the payroll support programme.
The quarter’s revenue was $6.3 billion, down 49% from the same period in 2019.
In the June quarter, the airline earned $1.9 billion in operating cash flow, $1.5 billion in free cash flow, and $195 million in free cash flow.
Delta’s CEO, Ed Bastian, said, “With the best employees and operation in the industry and an accelerating demand environment, we achieved significant milestones in the quarter including a solid pre-tax profit in the month of June.
“Looking forward, we are harnessing the power of our differentiated brand and resilient competitive advantages to drive towards sustainable profitability in the second half of 2021 and enable long-term value creation.”
Bastian added that domestic leisure travel has entirely recovered to 2019 levels, and business and international travel are showing hopeful indications of improvement.
Delta Air Lines is investing to sustain its industry-leading operation as the recovery gains traction.
Bastian continued: “We are also opportunistically acquiring aircraft and creating upside flexibility to accelerate our capacity restoration in 2022 and beyond in a capital-disciplined manner,”
Delta forecasts passenger capacity to be down 28 to 30% and revenue to be down 30 to 35 percent over the next three months compared to the same period last year.
On Tuesday, American Airlines said it expects a “slight” pretax profit in the second quarter and that revenue will likely be higher than planned.