Delta Air Lines (DAL) vs. China Eastern Airlines (CEA) Head to Head Analysis

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Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL) and China Eastern Airlines (NYSE:CEA) are both transportation companies, but which is the superior business? We will compare the two companies based on the strength of their earnings, profitability, analyst recommendations, institutional ownership, risk, valuation and dividends.

Earnings & Valuation

This table compares Delta Air Lines and China Eastern Airlines’ gross revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Delta Air Lines $41.24 billion 0.87 $3.58 billion $4.93 10.56
China Eastern Airlines $15.17 billion 0.53 $938.61 million $3.26 8.47

Delta Air Lines has higher revenue and earnings than China Eastern Airlines. China Eastern Airlines is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Delta Air Lines, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Risk and Volatility

Delta Air Lines has a beta of 1, indicating that its stock price has a similar volatility profile to the S&P 500.Comparatively, China Eastern Airlines has a beta of 1.61, indicating that its stock price is 61% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Insider and Institutional Ownership

87.3% of Delta Air Lines shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 0.4% of China Eastern Airlines shares are held by institutional investors. 0.3% of Delta Air Lines shares are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, endowments and large money managers believe a stock is poised for long-term growth.


This table compares Delta Air Lines and China Eastern Airlines’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Delta Air Lines 7.72% 26.75% 6.63%
China Eastern Airlines 3.91% 7.21% 1.86%

Analyst Ratings

This is a summary of current recommendations and price targets for Delta Air Lines and China Eastern Airlines, as provided by

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Delta Air Lines 0 1 13 0 2.93
China Eastern Airlines 0 2 3 0 2.60

Delta Air Lines presently has a consensus price target of $68.21, indicating a potential upside of 31.06%. Given Delta Air Lines’ stronger consensus rating and higher possible upside, analysts plainly believe Delta Air Lines is more favorable than China Eastern Airlines.


Delta Air Lines pays an annual dividend of $1.40 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.7%. China Eastern Airlines pays an annual dividend of $0.36 per share and has a dividend yield of 1.3%. Delta Air Lines pays out 28.4% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. China Eastern Airlines pays out 11.0% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Both companies have healthy payout ratios and should be able to cover their dividend payments with earnings for the next several years. Delta Air Lines has raised its dividend for 4 consecutive years. Delta Air Lines is clearly the better dividend stock, given its higher yield and longer track record of dividend growth.


Delta Air Lines beats China Eastern Airlines on 15 of the 17 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Delta Air Lines

Delta Air Lines, Inc. provides scheduled air transportation for passengers and cargo in the United States and internationally. The company operates through two segments, Airline and Refinery. Its route network is centered on a system of hubs, international gateways, and airports in Amsterdam, Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, London-Heathrow, Los Angeles, Minneapolis-St. Paul, New York-LaGuardia, New York-JFK, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Salt Lake City, Seattle, and Tokyo-Narita. The company sells its tickets through various distribution channels, including and mobile applications/Web, telephone reservations, online travel agencies, traditional brick and mortar, and other agencies. It also provides aircraft maintenance, repair, and overhaul services; staffing, aviation, and professional security and training services to third parties; and vacation packages to third-party consumers, as well as aircraft charters, and management and programs. As of February 9, 2018, the company operated a fleet of approximately 800 aircraft. Delta Air Lines, Inc. was founded in 1924 and is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia.

About China Eastern Airlines

China Eastern Airlines Corporation Limited, together with its subsidiaries, operates in the civil aviation industry in the People's Republic of China and internationally. The company offers passenger, cargo, mail delivery, ground, cargo handling, tour operations, air catering, and other extended transportation services. It is also involved in flight training; airline maintenance and consultation; import and export, investment, leasing, and consultation; hotel services; travel and air ticketing agency and transportation; the research and development of technology and products in the field of aviation; and e-commerce platform activities. As of December 31, 2017, the company operated a fleet of 637 aircraft, including 627 passenger aircraft and 10 business aircraft. China Eastern Airlines Corporation Limited was founded in 1988 and is headquartered in Shanghai, the People's Republic of China. China Eastern Airlines Corporation Limited is a subsidiary of China Eastern Air Holding Company Limited.

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