Earnings Start: American and Delta Air Lines Report Losses


Both American Airlines and Delta Air Lines kicked off the earnings season this quarter by announcing third quarter earnings today.

The results?

Not especially heartening — yet, as analyst Jamie Baker with JP Morgan wrote this morning — third quarter results are going to be somewhat of a major aberration. Or as he said, “3Q jet fuel averaged over $1.00/gallon higher than today’s spot, the industry hadn’t undertaken unprecedented capacity cuts, and demand had yet to reflect the most recent global malaise. As such, we broadly consider 3Q industry results to be irrelevant, offering little to no insight as to the industry’s 2009 profit potential.”

Delta Air Lines reported a loss of $50 million, opposed to a profit of $220 million last year, while American Airlines reported a loss of $360 million. This compared to a profit of $175 million last year.

Yes, the airline DID lose that much.

Headline numbers are touting the fact the airline posted net income of $45 million, but that number includes a huge one-time gain and other items. That one-time $432 million gain came from the sale of American Beacon Advisors.