Fuel hedging helps Delta land a profit

A Delta airline's aircraft takes off from the Ronald Regan National airport as the sun rises in Washington, DC, on June 9, 2011. Getty Images/Jewel Samad

(AP) MINNEAPOLIS - Delta Air Lines Inc. (DAL) is reporting a first-quarter profit because of fuel hedging and other one-time gains.

Net income was $124 million, or 15 cents per share. Revenue rose 9 percent to $8.41 billion.

The first quarter is usually the weakest of the year, and Delta would have lost money if not for special items.

The airline booked a $151 million gain on fuel hedges that are set to pay off, although they haven't yet. Minus that and other items, Delta would have lost $39 million, or 5 cents per share. Analysts had been expecting a loss of 4 cents per share.

Fuel hedges are bets on the price movement of products such as oil and gasoline. They help airlines smooth out the ups and downs of jet fuel purchases.

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