Delta profit soars on higher fares, US Airways falls

Two major American airlines post contrasting results for Q4 2011

Two major US airlines have just posted contrasting results for the fourth quarter of 2011. Delta Air Lines’ net income was up sharply on the year, to $425 million. That compares with $19 million for the same quarter in 2010, a period when it was struggling with early debt repayments. Revenue for Q4 2011 was up by 8% to $8.4 billion. Delta is now benefiting from higher fares despite the bigger fuel bills. The airline was able to raise fares by cutting back on capacity towards the end of the year, so that the money it made transporting each passenger per mile increased by 12%.
However, higher fares and more passengers could not help US Airways Group Inc., which was harmed by the high oil price and posted a 35% in net income to earn $18 million for the quarter. That compares to $28 million for Q4 2010. But this beats earlier forecasts, and the carrier’s shares rose on the news.
[pictured: Delta Airlines‘ pink plane, raising awareness for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation]