Delta's first-quarter earnings, revenue beat Wall Street expectations

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Delta Air Lines posted first-quarter earnings Wednesday that beat Wall Street’s expectations for both profit and revenue.

“Demand for Delta’s product has never been stronger,” President Glen Hauenstein said in a statement announcing the earnings. “With our customer-focused commercial initiatives delivering strong customer loyalty and top-line momentum, we now expect full-year revenue growth of five to seven percent, an increase from our prior guidance.”

The Atlanta-based carrier earned 96 cents a share, on an adjusted basis, compared with an average of 90 cents expected by analysts polled by Refinitiv.

It generated $10.47 billion in revenue, compared with $10.42 billion forecast by analysts. Its revenue jumped 5.1 percent from $9.97 billion during the first three months last year.

On an unadjusted basis, the company’s profits jumped 31 percent to $730 million, or $1.09 per share, up from $557 million or 79 cents a share during the same time period last year.

Investors were expecting a strong quarter from Delta, especially after it raised its earnings and revenue guidance last week, citing healthy demand that helped drive record performance.

The airline has also escaped the fallout from Boeing’s 737 Max prolonged grounding following two fatal crashes over five months that killed a total of 346 people. Wall Street analysts recently downgraded Boeing and Southwest Airlines, and American Airlines cut its revenue guidance for the first quarter and canceled 1,200 flights.

“Our hearts go out to all who are impacted,” Delta CEO Ed Bastian said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Wednesday morning. “This is not something we want to compete around. I’m confident Boeing will get to the right answer with respect to the fix and hope they get the product back in the sky as soon as possible.”

Southwest executives are holding a call with analysts at 10 a.m. ET.

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