Delta Air Lines, Inc. (NYSE:DAL) Q3 2019 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript

Oct 10, 2019 • 10:00 am ET

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Delta Air Lines, Inc. (NYSE:DAL) Q3 2019 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript

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Presentation
Executive
Paul Jacobson

low end of our target leverage ratio of 1.5 to 2.5 times. During the September quarter, we generated nearly $2.4 billion of operating cash flow, reinvested $800 million into the business and invested $150 million to support our new strategic partnership with LATAM. This produced free cash flow of $1.4 billion, meeting our full year free cash flow target of $4 billion in just nine months.

Our full year core capex guidance of $4.5 billion is unchanged, including $100 million as part of our LATAM agreement to acquire 14 A350 aircraft. This recent transaction with LATAM is an exciting opportunity for Delta as -- and is an example of how our balance sheet enables strategic moves that expand our competitive strengths.

We continue to consistently return cash to our owners, in addition to investing in the future growth of the Company. During the September quarter, we returned $468 million to shareholders. For the year, we remain on track to return approximately $3 billion, in line with our commitment to return at least 70% of free cash flow to shareholders.

Our consistent repurchase activity and 15% dividend increase in the third quarter demonstrates our continued conviction on the durability and sustainability of our business model. We've been able to invest in the business and return cash to shareholders while maintaining low debt levels and improving the funded status of our pension as part of our commitment to maintain our investment-grade ratings. These financials are a validation of our strengths, which continue to deliver industry-leading results and drive long-term value for all of our stakeholders.

And with that, I'll turn the call back over to Jill to begin the Q&A.

Executive
Jill Sullivan Greer

Thanks. And before we go to the Q&A, if we can just -- that time of year when we announce our December Investor Day this year, please mark your calendars for December 11 and 12 we'll be back here in our hometown of Atlanta. For now just mark your calendars. We'll send out more information as the date gets closer.

So with that, Jake, if we could have the instructions for the analysts on how to join the queue?