ATLANTA — Delta Air Lines Inc.’s second-quarter earnings rose 17 percent, topping analysts’ expectations, as passengers flew more miles at higher average fares and fuel spending declined.
The results from Delta, the world’s third-biggest airline company, produced a strong opening to the industry’s results for the busy April-to-June quarter.
Delta said it benefited from gains in corporate contracts and domestic traffic. Like other airlines, Delta has been adding flights cautiously and instead is cramming more passengers on each plane. The average flight was 86.3 percent full, a figure that would have seemed impossible not long ago.
By limiting seats or capacity, airlines can keep fares high. CEO Richard Anderson said Delta would continue its “disciplined approach” to adding new flights.
“This discipline continues to be a key driver of our success, as we will post record results for 2014,” Anderson said on a conference call with analysts.