Delta has published its financial results for the third quarter of 2021, with revenues reaching two thirds of 2019 levels.

The carrier reported a third quarter profit of $216 million, excluding some $1.3 billion in payroll support from the US government.

Delta said that domestic and Latin American markets had continued to lead the recovery, with domestic passenger revenue up to 72 per cent of 2019 levels.

Transatlantic revenues were only at 35 per cent compared to the same period in 2019, but this figure was up 20 points over the quarter, “driven by border reopenings”.

The airline also said that corporate demand had been stable “despite a delay in return to the office”, with volumes at around 40 per cent of 2019 levels over the last quarter.

Delta said that this figure was “a 10 point improvement sequentially from the June quarter, but below expectations set at the outset of the quarter”.

Commenting on the news Delta’s CEO Ed Bastian said:

“Our September quarter marked an important milestone in our recovery, with our first quarterly profit since the start of the pandemic.

“Our revenues reached two-thirds of 2019 levels thanks to the industry-leading operational performance our people delivered through a busy summer, once again showing why they are the best in the business.”

“While demand continues to improve, the recent rise in fuel prices will pressure our ability to remain profitable for the December quarter.

“As the recovery progresses, I am confident in our path to sustained profitability as we continue to provide best-in-class service to our customers, strengthen preference for our brand, while creating a simpler, more efficient airline.”

The carrier also announced plans to acquire two more used A350 aircraft, with deliveries scheduled for the coming quarter.

Delta said that so far this year it had finalised fleet transactions including the exercise of 55 A321 neo options, scheduled to be delivered between 2022 and 2027, as well as agreements to acquire 38 “gently used” aircraft in the secondary market.