Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian told CNBC on Thursday that increased consumer confidence since Donald Trump’s election can be quantified in the carrier’s bottom line.
Bastian said on “Squawk Box” there are actually pennies in the airline’s earnings that can be attributed to the increase in how Americans are feeling about the economy since Election Day.
Delta on Thursday morning reported adjusted quarterly earnings of 82 cents per share, a 30 percent decline from a year ago. However, the numbers did match expectations. Revenue for the fourth quarter fell slightly to $9.46 billion but still exceeded estimates.
Results started to really pick up late in the quarter with a “really strong holiday period,” Bastian said.
“There was no question post the election that we saw an improvement,” he said. “You see in the marketplace. You see it in some optimism with respect to starting to get things done in Washington. We saw it in our results.”
Lower airfares also started to stabilize during the quarter, Bastian added. “The outlook for ’17 is looking good.”
Delta said it expects to report passenger revenue per seat mile of flat to up 2 percent.
Bastian also said he’s “optimistic” that the new Trump administration will address what U.S. airlines see as unfair competition from state-subsidized Mideast carriers, resulting in distortions in the international marketplace.
“Our new president-elect ran on a campaign of protecting U.S. jobs and enforcing U.S. trade treaties,” the Delta CEO said. “We don’t think there’s a more important industry that has been violated with respect to trade treaties, and the potential loss of jobs.”
Since 2004, the governments of Qatar and the UAE have provided $42 billion in subsidies and other unfair benefits to Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways, and Emirates, according to the trade group Partnership for Open & Fair Skies.