Delta Air Lines has reported a $652 million profit for the three months to June.

The figure was buoyed by $1.5 billion in government benefits related to the first and second payroll support program extensions.

Revenue for the quarter stood at $6.3 billion, down 49 per cent from the same period in 2019.

The airline generated $1.9 billion of operating cash flow, $1.5 billion of free cash flow and $195 million of free cash flow in the June quarter.

“With the best employees and operation in the industry and an accelerating demand environment, we achieved significant milestones in the quarter including a solid pre-tax profit in the month of June,” said Ed Bastian, Delta chief executive.

“Looking forward, we are harnessing the power of our differentiated brand and resilient competitive advantages to drive towards sustainable profitability in the second half of 2021 and enable long-term value creation.”

He added: “Domestic leisure travel is fully recovered to 2019 levels and there are encouraging signs of improvement in business and international travel. 

“With the recovery picking up steam, we are making investments to support our industry-leading operation. 

“We are also opportunistically acquiring aircraft and creating upside flexibility to accelerate our capacity restoration in 2022 and beyond in a capital-disciplined manner.”

Over the next three months, Delta said it expects passenger capacity will be down 28 to 30 per cent and revenue off 30 to 35 per cent, compared with the same period in 2019.