UPDATE 1-U.S. carrier Delta Air Lines expects fuel expenses to drop in 2019

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Dec 13 (Reuters) - U.S. carrier Delta Air Lines Inc on Thursday forecast a $300 million drop in fuel expenses for 2019 and said it expects robust air travel demand to boost profit for the year.

With oil prices at multi-year high for most part of the year, a surge in fuel costs have plagued U.S. airlines, forcing them to raise ticket prices and increase baggage fees.

But, prices have now fallen about 30 percent since hitting a four-year high in October, giving some respite to Delta and its peers such as American Airlines Group Inc and Southwest Airlines Co.

Delta sees 2019 profit between $6 and $7 per share. At the high end of that range, it would be a 25 percent increase over what analysts expect for 2018, according to IBES data by Refinitiv.

Atlanta-based Delta also expects revenue growth of 4 percent to 6 percent.

Delta expects $3 to $4 billion in free cash flow, and about $4.5 billion in capital expenditures for 2019.

Shares of Delta Air Lines were marginally down at $56 in premarket trade. (Reporting by Sanjana Shivdas in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Sweta Singh)