ATLANTA (AP) — Delta Air Lines Inc. said a key measure of revenue would rise as much as 9 percent this month, offsetting a November decline, as it benefits from strong Thanksgiving travel.
Delta said overall demand for Thanksgiving travel "was especially strong." However, the late Thanksgiving means that passengers returning after the holiday weekend took their flights in December. The result was a 3 percent decline in November passenger revenue compared to the same month last year, Delta said.
The combination of those passengers returning home in December, plus "solid bookings" for the remainder of the year, should boost December passenger revenue 7 percent to 9 percent, Delta said in reporting its monthly operating results on Tuesday.
November traffic fell 2.4 percent, with a 4.8 percent drop in domestic traffic offsetting a 1.7 percent gain in international traffic.
November flying capacity rose 1.4 percent, with a very small gain in domestic capacity and a 3.3 percent increase in international flying capacity. Airlines can add capacity by using bigger planes, or by flying longer flights.
Because fewer people flew even as Delta added more flying capacity, its planes weren't as full. Occupancy fell 3.1 percentage points to 79.4 percent in November.