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Delta fourth quarter profit rises after increased traffic, higher traveler fares

MINNEAPOLIS--Higher fares and growing traffic helped Delta Air Lines Inc. post a bigger-than-expected profit on Tuesday.

Delta's yield — a key measure of what each passenger pays to fly one mile — rose 4 percent for the quarter. Airlines tried about a dozen fare increases last year. While most failed after competitors didn't match them, airlines still boosted yields by an average 2 percent last year, according to the Airlines for America trade group.

Delta President Ed Bastian said demand for air travel is “solid,” and Delta expects to see “significant margin expansion” in the current quarter.

In the year-earlier quarter, Delta earned US$7 million, or a penny per share, after Superstorm Sandy hurt profits.

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