- The airline also beat expectations for quarterly revenue and posted a 2.4% gain for revenue per available seat mile.
- Delta shares surged as much as 4.5% on the news.
- The company's domestic revenue grew more than any other regional business, hinting its bet on increased US travel is paying off.
- Watch Delta Air Lines trade live here .
Delta Air Lines reported fourth-quarter earnings on Tuesday morning that beat analysts' highest profit estimate, according to Bloomberg data.
The company also topped expectations for quarterly revenue and posted a 2.4% gain for revenue per available seat mile, a key metric for airline efficiency.
Delta shares traded as much as 4.5% higher in early Tuesday trading, hitting their highest levels since July.
Here are the key numbers:
Revenue: $11.44 billion, versus $11.34 billion
Adjusted earnings per share: $1.70, versus the $1.40 consensus estimate and $1.52 highest estimate
Total revenue per available seat mile: up 2.4%
"2019 was a truly outstanding year on all fronts the best in Delta's history operationally, financially and for our customers," CEO Ed Bastian said in the report. "As we enter 2020, demand for travel is healthy and our brand preference is growing, positioning Delta to deliver another year of strong results, including earnings per share of $6.75 to $7.75."
The airline company is gambling on increased travel within the US, and has invested in several travel hubs through new flightpaths and upgraded terminals. Domestic revenue grew 7.7% in the fourth quarter, more than any other regional category. Revenue and profit margin improved across all of Delta's domestic hubs, according to the report.
Delta has also benefited from a lack of exposure to the Boeing 737 Max. The best-selling jet model was grounded in March after two fatal crashes killed 346 people. Though the return of the model will boost industry seating supply and likely water-down prices, Delta's insulation from the jet's disaster placed in an advantageous position compared to peers running the Max.
Delta opened at $60.74 per share on Tuesday, up about 1.4% year-to-date.
The airline has 12 "buy" ratings, nine "hold" ratings, and no "sell" ratings from analysts, with a consensus price target of $67.71, according to Bloomberg data.
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