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Delta profits soar to sky high levels

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It was a big third quarter for Delta Air Lines. The carrier which dominates the Twin Cities market is heading for record profits this year.

Minnesota Public Radio reports that the Atlanta-based airline saw net income increase 31 percent to nearly $1.4 billion. That was up from about $1 billion in the same quarter a year ago. Third quarter sales rose about six percent to 10.5 billion.

The strong results were helped by an increase in passengers and fares. USA Today reports that Delta's passenger traffic inched up by 2% for the quarter while the average fare paid by passengers on a per-mile basis jumped nearly 5%.

Strong performances in the Atlanta, New York and London markets especially drove the increase. Passengers also purchased more extras, including things like in-flight Internet and roomier seats.

Delta says it has significantly improved its operational performance, resulting in an on-time arrival rate of 83%. Delta says it has flown 99.8% of its flights this year without cancellation.

Delta acquired Minnesota-based Northwest Airlines in 2008. The airline reported it has about 12,000 employees in Minnesota, including regional airlines.

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