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Delta Air Lines Inc.’s third-quarter profit exceeded analyst expectations as the carrier’s efforts to trim growth in available seats gave it more control over fares.

Adjusted earnings were $1.70 a share, surpassing the $1.65 average of 15 estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Sales fell to $10.5 billion, in line with estimates. Unit revenue, a key industry measurement, may fall by 3 percent to 5 percent in the current quarter, a smaller decline than the 6.8 percent drop in the third quarter, the carrier said in a statement Thursday.

Delta has been paring growth as a glut of seating capacity drags down fares across the U.S. airline industry. The Atlanta-based carrier will continue with a modest capacity expansion next year, Chief Executive Officer Ed Bastian said.

“With our focus on building a more sustainable and durable business, we will be taking a cautious approach to 2017 by keeping our capacity in line with the December quarter’s 1 percent growth level,” Bastian said in the statement.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael Sasso in Atlanta at To contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Case at, Bruce Rule, Tony Robinson

©2016 Bloomberg L.P.

This article was written by Michael Sasso from Bloomberg and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Photo Credit: Business travelers in Delta Economy Comfort in a Boeing 757-200ER (75S). The carrier just reported its third quarter earnings. Delta Air Lines