Pummeled by stormy wintry weather and employees calling in sick during the busy holiday season, Delta Air Lines and its rivals had to cancel thousands of flights. Despite that, Delta reported Thursday that it managed to boost quarterly earnings.
But it warned that the Omicron variant that had disrupted holiday travel would result in a loss in its current quarter. Operational disruptions are expected to add to cost pressures.
The carrier said Omicron will likely delay the recovery in travel demand by two months.
But citing “pent-up demand,” CEO Ed Bastian sounded confident. He said that while international bookings were down, the transatlantic market would be “very strong” this spring and summer once border restrictions are lifted.
And while 8,000 employees have contracted the virus since Omicron became the dominant variant, he said case counts have been declining over the past week, adding that the worst of the variant may be behind them.
Investors chose to look at the sun behind the clouds, driving Delta shares up more than 3% in early trading Thursday.