MINNEAPOLIS — Delta Air Lines' quarterly profit soared as higher fares offset a bigger fuel bill.
Like other carriers, Delta was able to raise fares by cutting the amount of flying it did in the fourth quarter. The money it made flying a passenger a single mile rose 12 percent.
The company's fourth-quarter net income rose to $425 million, or 50 cents per share, compared with $19 million, or 2 cents, a year earlier, when it was hit with charges from early debt repayment and consolidation of airport operations.
Revenue rose 8 percent to $8.4 billion in the final three months of 2011, countering a 5-percent rise in fuel expenses on its mainline operations. Other costs were flat.
Before one-time gains and losses, Delta earned 45 cents per share in the latest quarter, easily beating Wall Street expectations of 37 cents.
Delta's 2011 profit totaled $854 million, 44 percent higher than in 2010. Revenue rose 11 percent to $35 billion. The Atlanta-based airline has turned a profit two years in a row.
Delta's strategy of reducing flying to match demand will continue. The carrier said Wednesday that it will cut flying capacity 3 percent to 5 percent during the first quarter of 2012.
The airline's stock price rose 67 cents, or 7.1 percent, to $10.05 in midday trading.
— Associated Press