Delta Air Lines 2023 Fuel Usage Report

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Delta Air Lines has released its fourth-quarter and full-year 2023 earnings statements, providing insights into their fuel expenditure for the year. Despite a significant increase in fuel usage, the airline managed to reduce its overall cost of jet fuel.

Fourth-Quarter Analysis

Although there was a slight uptick in costs compared to the previous year’s fourth quarter, Delta spent $2.933 billion on fuel and related expenses during Q4 of 2023. This represents an increase of nearly 3% from the $2.849 billion spent in the same period of 2022.

Full-Year Comparison

However, in terms of the entire year, Delta Airlines experienced a decrease in fuel costs. Throughout 2023, they expended $11.121 billion on fuel, reflecting a 2.90% reduction compared to the $11.453 billion spent in 2022.

Increased Fuel Usage

Regardless of the cost decrease, both the fourth-quarter and full-year fuel consumption levels for 2023 were significantly higher than those of previous years.

Fourth Quarter

Delta used 978 million gallons of fuel in the fourth quarter of 2023, marking a substantial increase of 12.54% from the same period in the prior year. In comparison, they consumed only 869 million gallons of fuel during the fourth quarter of the previous year.

Full-Year Total

Throughout 2023, Delta consumed a total of 3.926 billion gallons of fuel, surpassing the usage recorded in 2022 by just over 15%. In contrast, the airline had used only 3.412 billion gallons of fuel in 2022.

Despite the higher fuel consumption levels witnessed in 2023, Delta Air Lines managed to optimize their cost of jet fuel and maintain financial stability.

Delta’s Fuel Costs Show Significant Declines in 2023

In 2023, Delta Airlines experienced a notable decrease in fuel costs compared to the previous year. Despite using more fuel overall, the price per gallon decreased. In the fourth quarter, Delta’s fuel cost was $3/gal, representing a 6% decline from the $3.20/gal used in the same quarter of 2022. Throughout the entire year, the airline’s fuel costs averaged just $2.83/gal, marking a substantial 16% slide from the average per gallon cost of $3.36 in 2022.

Decrease in Fuel Costs per Seat Mile

The decline in fuel costs extended beyond the price per gallon. Assessing the fuel costs per available seat mile (CASM), which measures the cost of fuel for one seat flown for one mile, Delta witnessed significant declines compared to the prior year. In the final quarter of 2023, the average fuel CASM was recorded at 4.30 cents/ASM, which was slightly over 10% lower than the figure of 4.78 cents/ASM in the fourth quarter of 2022.

Yearly Decrease in Fuel CASM

The full-year fuel CASM exhibited an even more substantial decline year over year. In 2023, Delta’s fuel CASM was just 4.07 cents/ASM, reflecting a significant drop of 17.28% from the corresponding figure of 4.92 cents/ASM in 2022.

Factors Impacting Fuel Costs

Delta owns and operates the Monroe Trainer, Pa., facility as a means of offsetting fuel costs. However, according to the company’s earnings statement released on Friday, the refinery’s contribution to fuel costs reached a break-even point in 2023 due to planned maintenance during late autumn and early winter, which temporarily took the plant offline for several weeks.

Future Projections for Fuel Costs

Looking ahead, Delta anticipates that fuel costs in the first quarter of 2024 will range between $2.50-2.70/gal, resulting in an estimated fuel CASM cost of approximately 4.36 cents/ASM.

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