The growing focus on shareholder friendliness among major U.S. carriers does not concern Fitch Ratings, which is seeing an increasingly healthy financial environment as more carriers reap benefits of low fuel prices, pay down debt and hold the line on capacity, keeping yields up. Delta Air Lines—which paid out $500 million to shareholders in first-quarter dividends and buybacks—has been leading the shareholder-return parade, establishing a dividend in May 2013 and launching a ...

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