Delta Air Lines reported some very good news today. The Atlanta-based airline reported a $1 billion profit in the third quarter.
Delta’s third quarter profits follow a very positive trend for Atlanta and Georgia since the same time last year. The airline nearly doubled its profit compared to its 2011 third quarter earnings, though this year’s September quarter profit included a $440 million gain in the value of its fuel hedges for the future.
The airline also was able to reap the gains despite a cut to flight capacity and staff.
Delta has cut staff radically and those cuts were a big part of the company’s big profits. Among their gains were a $122 million charge including costs for the closing regional subsidiary Comair at the end of September.
The airline also reported a $66 million charge for severance and other costs as part a staff reduction through the early retirements of 2,000 workers this year. Delta’s count of full-time employees decreased to 76,626 in the quarter, down from 79,709 a year ago. Its fleet shrank to 725 planes in the quarter, down from 790 a year earlier.
The $1 billion in net income for Delta amounted to $1.23 per share, up from 65 cents a share, or $549 million, in the third quarter of 2011.
The airline had operating revenue of $9.9 billion in the third quarter, up 1 percent year-over-year. Its operating expense totaled $8.6 billion, down 4 percent.