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Delta, NW fly over forecasts
July 20, 2000: 12:10 p.m. ET

Strong earnings complete quarter as airlines overcome soaring fuel costs
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NEW YORK (CNNfn) - Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines both flew well over second-quarter earnings forecasts.

The reports helped the industry to basically wrap up a strong earnings quarter when profitability increased, despite soaring fuel costs. It also helped turn around stocks in the sector the day after a warning from UAL Corp., owner of industry leader United Airlines, took most airline stocks lower.

graphicDelta, the nation's third largest carrier, earned $376 million, or $2.86 a diluted share. That tops both the $2.72 a share forecast from analysts surveyed by earnings tracker First Call, as well as the $364 million, or $2.40 a share, it earned a year earlier.

Including special gains and charges, Delta's net income in the period came to $460 million, or $3.51 a share.

Delta did a better job than other airlines in limiting the increase in fuel costs through long-term fuel contracts. Those contracts saved the carrier $133 million, and limited the increase in fuel cost to 22 percent, compared with hikes in the 40-to-100 percent range at other carriers.

Revenue for the Atlanta-based airline increased to $4.5 billion in the quarter from $3.9 billion a year earlier. As was the case with other major carriers, Delta sold a greater percentage of its seats and saw increased fares during the period. The airline did not include six months operating figures in its release.

In trading Thursday Delta (DAL: Research, Estimates) shares gained 1-5/16 to 54-15/16.

Record full planes lift Northwest earnings


Northwest Airlines, the nation's fourth largest carrier, posted an unexpected gain in income.

The Minneapolis-based carrier posted net income of $115 million, or $1.26 a diluted share. First Call's forecast was for earnings to drop to 98 cents a share from the $103 million, or $1.10 a share, it earned excluding special items in the year-earlier period.

graphicThe airline saw record load factors to post revenue of $2.9 billion, up 12.7 percent from the $2.6 billion it saw a year earlier.

For the first six months of the year, Northwest posted net income of $118 million, or $1.29 a diluted share, up from the $91 million, or 98 cents a share it earned a year earlier. Year-to-date revenue came to $5.5 billion, from $4.9 billion a year earlier.

Shares of Northwest (NWAC: Research, Estimates) edged up 1/8 to 34-13/16 in trading Thursday. Back to top

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