Delta Air Lines Aims to Raise Fares in 2022

Edward Russell

December 17th, 2021 at 12:25 PM EST

Delta Air Lines management left investors and analysts with one clear statement on next year: Don't get too excited. The Atlanta-based carrier's passenger capacity recovery will slow and that will in turn drive elevated cost growth but, hey, at least there will be profits.

"It will be a recovery year, but it will be a profitable recovery year," Delta CEO Ed Bastian said in his opening remarks at the airline's investor day on Thursday. As part of that return to the black, Delta plans to only recover passenger capacity to 90 percent of 2019 levels — lower than at the trio of American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and United Airlines, though American and United have yet to update their pre-Omicron variant outlooks — while forecasting unit cost excluding fuel growth of 7-10 percent year-over-three-years.

But Wall Street analysts were quick to see the upside of Delta's outl

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