Delta Air Lines, Inc. DAL reported impressive traffic numbers for July. Consolidated traffic, measured in revenue passenger miles (RPMs), came in at 22.6 billion, up 4% year over year.
Consolidated capacity (or available seat miles/ASMs) climbed 3.5% to 25.51 billion on a year-over-year basis. Consolidated load factor or percentage of seats filled by passengers increased 50 basis points to 88.6% as traffic growth exceeded capacity expansion.
Strong demand for air travel led to the increase in load factor. In fact, this Atlanta, GA-based carrier transported 18.3 million passengers in the month, reflecting an improvement of 3.9% on a year-over-year basis.
Additionally, the carrier recorded an on-time performance (mainline) of 83.4% and completion factor (mainline) of 99.9% for July. On a year-to-date basis, both traffic and capacity increased 3.2%. Load factor was 85.5% in the same period, roughly flat year over year.
The traffic report apart, Delta was in the news recently when it signed an agreement to fortify its alliance with the Canadian low-cost carrier - WestJet Airlines Ltd. In a bid to facilitate air travel between Canada and the United States, the carriers inked a definitive agreement to form a transborder joint venture. The agreement, which is awaiting approvals from the two countries, strengthens the existing codeshare deal between the carriers.
In a year's time, Delta has performed well despite headwinds like high fuel costs. The stock has gained 4.6% against its industry 's 4.6% decline.
The impressive traffic report and the customer-friendly joint venture are added positives for the stock.
Zacks Rank & Key Picks
Delta carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in the broader Transportation sector are CSX Corporation CSX , Union Pacific Corporation UNP and Expeditors International of Washington, Inc. EXPD . While CSX sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Union Pacific and Expeditors carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank stocks here .
Each of the companies boasts of an impressive earnings history, having outperformed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in three of the trailing four quarters.
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Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Delta Air Lines, Inc. (DAL): Free Stock Analysis Report CSX Corporation (CSX): Free Stock Analysis Report Union Pacific Corporation (UNP): Free Stock Analysis Report Expeditors International of Washington, Inc. (EXPD): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research