Shares of Delta, based in Atlanta, rose 40 cents, or 2.9 percent, to close at $14.01. During the day they got as high as $14.15. They hadn't closed above $14 since November of 2010.
Delta's 2012 profit rose 18 percent to $1 billion, or $1.19 per share. In 2011 it earned $854 million, or $1.01 per share. Full-year revenue rose 4 percent to $36.67 billion.
For all of 2012, capacity was down 2 percent, even though traffic was unchanged.
Delta said it would cut first-quarter flying capacity by 2 percent to 4 percent. Airlines have been trying to keep a lid on growth so they can charge more for the seats that remain.
Less flying has meant fewer employees. Delta's headcount shrank 6 percent last year to the equivalent of 73,561 workers.