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Expanding at Heathrow cost Delta $47 million (£30.8 million) last year, the airline’s latest financial figures reveal.
The carrier spent this amount on two pairs of slots at the congested airport in order to increase frequencies to New York and Atlanta. It added a third daily Atlanta flight in March.
The airline has recorded its biggest first quarter profits in over a decade with a net profit of $85 million in the three months to the end of March. However, the result includes $78 million of special items related to charges on fleet and facilities, which pushes the bottom line figure down to $7 million. Without taking these into account, the headline figure is a $124 million improvement year on year.
The carrier has been in expansion mode recently following years of retraction. Delta bought a 49 per cent stake in Virgin Atlantic in December to consolidate its position in the Heathrow-transatlantic market. During the three-month period, Delta, the world’s biggest carrier, also spent $500 million on fleet investments.
Richard Anderson, Delta's chief executive officer said the first quarter result was “proof we are on the right path”.
"With a solid financial foundation and building momentum from initiatives like our La Guardia expansion, Virgin Atlantic investment and new Terminal 4 at New York-JFK, we are well positioned to generate significant improvements in Delta's profitability going forward," he said.
The carrier is predicting an operating margin of between nine and 11 per cent in the second quarter.