Chief Executive Officer at Delta Air Lines
Well, thank you, Julie, and good morning, everyone. We appreciate you joining us today.
Before we begin, I want to recognize all of those who have been impacted by Hurricane Ian and Fiona, including Delta employees who live in the affected communities. We have contributed $600,000 to the Red Cross relief efforts and activated our Delta Care Fund to take care of our employees who have suffered loss. Delta will continue to support our people and our communities submit to recovery and rebuilding.
The demand for air travel remains very strong, and that is reflected in today's results and outlook. We generated earnings of $1.51 per share in the September quarter. Our results mark clear financial progress as we report the highest quarterly revenue in Delta's history, 3% above the third quarter of 2019 and $1.5 billion of operating income, generating a 12% margin. This was our second quarter -- consecutive quarter of double-digit operating margins. And importantly, we achieved these results despite record high fuel prices and on capacity only 83% restored relative to 2019. Our customer satisfaction scores are running meaningfully above 2019. And loyalty to Delta has never been stronger with record SkyMiles acquisitions and American Express results ahead of our plan.
I want to sincerely thank the Delta people for their great work in delivering these results and restoring our operational reliability through a very difficult summer. Delivering safe, reliable and on-time service for our customers remains our top priority and no airline does this better than Delta. We saw strong consistent improvement in our operating metrics throughout the quarter. For example, excluding the impact of Hurricane Ian, we ran at 99.9% domestic completion factor in September and month-to-date in October with 90% arrivals on-time. To put that in context, out of 120,000 mainline flights over the last 45 days, we had just 108 cancellations in total, performance that is even better than our pre-pandemic levels. And year-to-date, Delta remains in the number one industry position amongst our peer set in completion factor and on-time arrivals.
After two years of delaying travel, it is clear that consumers are getting out and traveling the world. Business travel continues to recover in line with our expectations as bookings have improved after Labor Day and companies reconnect with their teams and their customers. And while consumer spend on experience is growing, the airline industry revenues are still $20 billion to $30 billion below the historical trend against GDP, highlighting the significant opportunity still ahead.
We expect our December quarter revenues to maintain this momentum and we will be 5% to 9% higher than 2019. With strong demand, we expect earnings per share of $1 to $1.25 and a 9% to 11% operating margin. While we faced numerous challenges and headwinds this year, Delta has demonstrated its resilience. We're ahead of our plan that we laid out for you last December on profitability and cash flow and we expect to be free cash flow positive in 2022, this year.
Our priority over the next six months is to prepare for full network restoration by next summer, consistent with our original plan, but always conditioned on continuing demand strength. This will support another meaningful step-up in profitability and cash flow next year as we stay on our path to earn over $7 of EPS and $4 billion of free cash in 2024. We'll provide more details on our outlook for 2023 and progress towards our long-term targets at an Investor Meeting that we will host December the 14th in New York.
As we think about our long-term plan, we had some really important achievements this quarter. Building on Delta's global network and partnerships, we strengthened our network with the recent DOT approval of our joint venture with LATAM. Together with LATAM, our JV will have the number one market position in South America. To support our best-in-class network, we continue to reshape our fleet and recently placed an order for 100 Boeing 737 Dash 10 aircraft.
We're also expanding the power of our loyalty ecosystem with the recently announced Starbucks partnership, bringing two premier brands together. And this week, we announced a strategic partnership with an investment in Joby Aviation, aligning the industry's best airline with the innovation leader in developing eVTOL. Joby shares our vision of providing customers a premium experience. We're excited to help support Joby's long-term vision of faster, more reliable and more sustainable transit through the year.
In closing, while we are mindful of macro economic headwinds, the travel industry is experiencing a counter-cyclical recovery. Global demand is continuing to ramp as consumers shift spend to experiences, businesses return to travel and international markets continue to reopen. Demand has not come close to being cleansed by a hectic summer travel season. At the same time, industry supply is constrained by aircraft availability, regional pilot shortages and hiring and training needs. With record high fuel prices and increasing cost of capital, the hurdle rate is rising for incremental capacity across an industry that's still restoring its financial condition post pandemic.
Against this backdrop and coupled with meaningfully improved asset utilization, at Delta, we are uniquely positioned to grow our earnings and cash flow in 2023. At the same time, we will remain nimble and have the tools to manage through any changes in the overall environment. Over the last decade, Delta has structurally improved in significant ways, creating a trusted consumer brand built on our foundation as the most reliable airline globally, driven by the very best professionals in the industry. And I truly believe that we are positioned to come through this period as a stronger airline than ever before.
With that, let me hand it over to Glen who can provide more details on our commercial performance.