Delta spotlights strengthened competitive advantages and brand momentum

Delta Air Lines today presents its plan for leading the air travel industry through the next phase of the recovery, powered by an intense focus on customers, the strength of its trusted consumer brand and its values-based, people-centric culture of service.

The airline is presenting its strategic priorities at its Capital Markets Day for the investor community, hosted at the New York Stock Exchange in New York City.

“It’s clear that the pandemic stress-tested the people of Delta in unprecedented ways, and our competitive advantages not only endured but were strengthened throughout the crisis,” said Ed Bastian, Delta’s CEO. “Delta is outperforming the industry, and our path forward to leading the next phase of the recovery is taking shape thanks to the incredible work of our 75,000 people worldwide.”

During the event, senior leadership will discuss how Delta is expanding its platform to create value over the long term. Highlights from the day will include:

  • Competitive Advantages: Delta’s actions during the pandemic further strengthened its competitive advantages and enhanced its position as a trusted consumer brand
  • Industry Leadership: Delta is leading the industry operationally and financially by demonstrating agility, operational excellence and discipline
  • Brand Preference: Delta continues to elevate the customer experience through its best-in-class service and by investing across the travel ribbon, enhancing brand preference and loyalty
  • Earnings Power: Delta expects to deliver meaningful profitability in 2022 on its path to improved earnings power beyond pre pandemic levels by 2024
  • Financial Foundation: Delta’s top financial priority is restoring its financial foundation, with a focus on efficiency and cash generation to achieve investment grade metrics by 2024

“As our profitability improves, we are focused on reducing debt and strategically investing to build on our leadership position,” said Delta CFO Dan Janki. “We have a compelling strategy that we believe will allow us to exceed 2019 financial performance, deliver industry-leading margins and generate significant cash to de-lever the balance sheet over the next three years.”

Delta’s financial targets will be discussed in greater detail at the event, and include the following:

Financial Targets:

  2022 2023 2024
ASMs (vs. 2019) ~90% ~100% 100%+
Total Adjusted Revenue (ex-Refinery) > $50B
NF CASM (vs. 2019) Up 7% to 10% Up Low to

Mid-Single Digits

Up Low

Single Digits

Fuel ($ / gallon) $2.20 – $2.30 $2.20 – $2.30 $2.20 – $2.30
EPS > $7.00
Gross Capital Expenditures ~$6B ~$5B to $5.5B ~$4.5B to $5B
Free Cash Flow > $4B
Adjusted Net Debt ~$15B

Additional Metrics and Assumptions:

  • 2024 operating margin in mid-teens
  • 2024 operating cash flow > $9B
  • 2024 adjusted debt / EBITDAR between 2.0x and 3.0x
  • 2024 ending liquidity between $5B and $6B
  • 2024 ROIC in the mid-teens

“As we look ahead, our priorities are strengthening our trusted consumer brand, restoring our financial performance and building a better future for our people and our planet,” Bastian said. “Our ambition is to transcend the industry and create significant long-term value for our people and our owners. As reconnecting the world becomes more important than ever, we are accelerating our path to reshape and redefine air travel.”

Delta also issued an investor update, raising December quarter financial guidance. The airline now expects to generate an adjusted pre-tax profit of ~$200 million in the December quarter.

Capital Markets Day will begin at 8:15 a.m. Eastern Standard Time and includes presentations from Bastian and Janki as well as Delta President Glen Hauenstein and President-International Alain Bellemare. It also will feature a Q&A with Bastian and Stephen J. Squeri, Chairman and CEO of American Express, in which they will discuss the growing value of the partnership between the two companies in the recovery and beyond.