MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Delta Air Lines' fourth-quarter net income rose sharply, as higher fares offset a bigger fuel bill.
Like other carriers, Delta was able to raises fares by cutting the amount of flying it did at the end of last year. The money it made flying a passenger a single mile rose 12 percent.
The company's fourth-quarter net income rose to $425 million, or 50 cents per share, compared with $19 million, or 2 cents, a year earlier, when it was hit with charges from early debt repayment and consolidation of airport operations.
Revenue rose 8 percent to $8.4 billion in the latest quarter, helping counter a 5-percent rise in fuel expenses on its mainline operations. Other costs were flat.
Excluding one-time gains and losses, Delta earned 45 cents per share, beating the 37 cents expected by analysts polled by FactSet.
Delta's 2011 profit totaled $854 million, 44 percent higher than in 2010. Revenue rose 11 percent to $35 billion. It has now turned a profit two years in a row.
Delta's strategy of reducing flying to match demand will continue. The carrier said Wednesday that it will cut flying capacity 3 percent to 5 percent during the first quarter of 2012.
Shares of Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines Inc. rose 47 cents, or 5 percent, to $9.85 in premarket trading.
AP Airlines Writer Samantha Bomkamp in New York contributed to this report.