Delta posts $1.77B profit in 2nd quarter

ATLANTA - Delta Air Lines Inc., the nation's third-largest carrier, cited a 5.5 percent gain in sales as it reported Wednesday that it swung to a profit in the second quarter, which saw it emerge from bankruptcy after shaving billions of dollars in costs.

The company's results beat Wall Street expectations when one-time items are excluded.

Also Wednesday, outgoing Chief Executive Gerald Grinstein told investors and analysts during a conference call that Delta's board will likely choose his successor by the end of the summer, at which point he will retire. He had initially said he planned to leave soon after Delta emerged from Chapter 11 but later extended that timeline. He said during the call the board is taking a deliberative approach to finding his replacement 'given the magnitude of this decision.'

The top internal candidates for CEO are Chief Financial Officer Ed Bastian and Chief Operating Officer James Whitehurst. No external candidates have been mentioned publicly.

Grinstein said during a conference call with reporters that Bastian and Whitehurst have not been distracted in their duties during the search.