Delta, US Airways Profits Top Projections

Raising fares and filling seats have helped Delta Air Lines Inc. (NYSE:DAL) and U.S. Airways Group Inc. (NYSE:LCC) beat analysts’ forecasts for profits in the fourth quarter, Bloomberg reports.

Shares of Delta, the second largest airline in the world, were up 8.3 percent to $10.16 today in New York after increasing as much as 9.8 percent, the biggest one-day gain since April. US Airways increased 16 percent to $7.41.

Lowering capacity and filling more than 80 percent of seats allowed both airlines to raise ticket prices and post better-than-expected revenue despite fuel prices that were up an average of 26 percent. Both airlines report that travel demand and revenue growth remain strong so far in 2012, according to the report.

Dahlman Rose & Co. analyst Helane Becker advises buying Delta stock and holding US Airways, said the report. “The fourth-quarter marks a turnaround in the space, and the industry has proven that they can be profitable at $100-a-barrel oil,” Becker said.