Delta cargo now largest among US passenger carriers


Corn Field
Dec 5, 2003
Delta Cargo has overtaken UA as the largest cargo carrier among US passenger airlines, delivering margins as high as 50% on the $1B in revenue cargo and mail generate for DL.

key excerpts:
Delta surpassed United, the world’s biggest airline, in cargo tonnage in July as the Chicago-based carrier meshes former United parent UAL Corp. and Continental Airlines Inc. The Atlanta-based carrier’s cargo rose 1.1 percent through September while United’s fell 6.4 percent and American’s slid 1.2 percent.

While Delta doesn’t typically give profit-margin (DAL) details for the unit, Charaf’s predecessor, Neel Shah, said in 2010 that the figure was “well north” of 50 percent. The airline’s overall operating margin last year was 6.3 percent.
That means Delta’s $1.03 billion in 2011 cargo revenue, which made up only 2.9 percent of total sales, generated a greater share of profit. Analysts project third-quarter net income (DAL) will climb 44 percent while United’s may drop 12 percent. AMR reported last week that its quarterly loss widened on the same basis.

Some of Delta’s advances may flow from rate cuts to snatch sales from rivals.

Delta is also hauling 50 percent more mail for the U.S. Postal Service than a year earlier after American exited that segment, and striking accords with carriers such as Emirates to reach countries it doesn’t serve with its own jets, Charaf said. Delta is working on five new interline deals with partners Charaf declined to name.