On the day that new inflation figures showed that airline ticket prices are up 43% compared to a year ago, Delta Airlines announced record quarterly revenue and profits of $695 million.
The airline giant, which counts Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport as one of its main hubs, announced that it generated a record $14 billion in revenue in the three months to the end of September.
Of that, it had pre-tax profits of $962 million, which worked out to $695 million in profits after tax.
While this remains a drop compared to the last pre-pandemic third quarter results in 2019, when Delta posted almost $1.5 billion in post-tax profits, it still represents a significant profit at a time when Americans are dealing with rising inflation, with Delta also having to contend with a 45% increase in fuel costs compared to 2019.
It also comes after a turbulent summer for the airline industry, with labor shortages forcing what CNBC described as "overambitious" airlines to pare back their schedules.
The latest inflation figures released Thursday showed an 8.2% year-on-year rise in consumer prices, and top of the price rises is in airline fares, which have risen 42.9% compared to last year as travel demand continued to recover from the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the three months between May and September, the average price of a domestic round trip hit $342, according to flight fare tracker Hopper – cited by CNBC – which is an 11% rise compared to 2019.
In his company's statement Thursday, Delta CEO Ed Bastian said he expects Delta's fourth quarter revenue growth "to accelerate versus 2019" due to a continued shift in consumer demand to experiences, and "demand improves in corporate and international."