Even though Delta Airlines' financial results from the quarter ending September 30 surpassed analysts' expectations with an operating revenue of roughly $9 billion and a net income of $1,2 billion, the airline still isn't completely out of the weeds yet, with CEO Ed Bastian predicting a "modest loss" in the fourth quarter. While its income may shrink again, revenues in 2021 have been steadily increasing as our chart shows.
Next to the recently ended quarter, April to June of this year have proven especially fruitful for the company with $652 million net income bolstered by government grants and roughly five times the revenue of Q2 2020. This, of course, can be attributed to the easing of travel regulations, especially on the domestic market. Since the end of May, passenger volumes for domestic flights in the U.S. have been hovering around 20 percent of pre-pandemic levels according to data by the trade association and lobbying group Airlines for America. Passenger volume for international flights to and from the United States is still down by 42 percent at the moment, and with many countries falling behind in vaccination rates, a complete recovery of the sector is still just a dot on the horizon.
Delta Airlines was not only awarded the title of most valuable airline brand by Brand Finance in July 2021, it also has the third biggest fleet size in the world and was among the top three most profitable airline groups in 2020, despite the impact of COVID-19 on the industry. The company's dealings in 2021 were not without controversy though: Its CEO's public flip-flopping concerning Georgia's new voting bill passed in March earned the airline criticism from both GOP officials and voting rights activists.