Delta raises 2019 profit outlook on strong demand as rivals grapple with Boeing 737 Max grounding

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Delta Air Lines shares rose Thursday after the Atlanta-based carrier raised its profit forecast for the year as travel demand continues to climb. Its CEO said the airline is also benefiting from the grounding of competitors’ Boeing 737 Max planes.

Delta said it expects to earn $6.75 to $7.25 per share this year, up from a previous estimate of $6 to $7 a share. Its stock was up 2% in morning trading.

Delta doesn’t operate the Boeing 737 Max, which has been grounded worldwide since mid-March following two fatal crashes that claimed a total of 346 lives.

“We do not fly the Max and clearly there was a benefit to the airline in the quarter,” Delta’s CEO Ed Bastian told CNBC’s Squawk Box on Thursday, calling the boost was “marginal.”

Competitors American, Southwest and United have canceled thousands of flights throughout the busy summer travel period and removed the 737 Max from their schedules through the end of the season as the plane remains grounded. Regulators have not indicated when they will allow the planes to fly again.

“It’s taken longer than any of us expected

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