Delta reports rise in key revenue for November, helped by earlier Thanksgiving holiday

ATLANTA – Delta Air Lines Inc. said Tuesday that a key revenue figure rose 4.5 per cent in November, thanks in part to a change in the calendar.

The Sunday after Thanksgiving, one of the busiest travel days of the year, was in November this year after being pushed back to December in 2013.

Delta said that strong traffic in Atlanta and Seattle also contributed to the increase in the key financial figure, revenue for every seat flown one mile. That figure rises when planes carry more people and average fares are higher.

Atlanta-based Delta said that November traffic rose 5 per cent over the same month last year. The airline expanded capacity by 3.6 per cent — usually by adding flights — and the average plane was 80.6 per cent full, up from 79.4 per cent a year earlier. The figures included Delta Connection regional flights.

Shares of Delta fell $1.29, or 2,8 per cent, to $44.33 in midday trading.

J.P. Morgan analyst Jamie Baker said investors may have overestimated the benefit of the earlier Thanksgiving. He noted that while the Sunday after Thanksgiving shifted to November this year, Monday and Tuesday — also expected to be busy for holiday-return travel — remained in December.