British Airways to end service to Almaty and Entebbe

British Airways (London) is dropping two long-haul routes from its London Heathrow hub. The flag carrier will drop service to Almaty (Kazakhstan) on October 11 and Entebbe (Uganda) on October 2 (both dates are for LHR departures) per Airline Route. Both routes are served with Boeing 767-300 ER aircraft.

Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 767-336 ER G-BNWZ (msn 25733) departs from London’s Heathrow Airport.

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Air France-KLM’s first half loss widens, more cuts coming, KLM gives a 787-9 preview

Air France-KLM logo

Air France-KLM (Air France and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines) (Paris and Amsterdam) today announced a second quarter loss of €79 million ($86.4 million), widening the first half loss.

As a result, the group stated it would cut another €300 million ($328 million) in costs. The group will continue to cut unprofitable routes.

The group announced these immediate measures:

  • Launch of immediate cost-saving measures
  • Acceleration of all cost reduction initiatives
  • Adjustment of Winter 2015-16 capacity

The group blamed the widening loss on increased competition and exchange rate issues.

Alexandre de Juniac made the following comments:

“In the First Half 2015, Air France-KLM’s results were characterized by exceptional volatility in exchange rates and the fuel price, and by on-going pressure on unit revenues. All the Perform 2020 cost-saving initiatives were identified and quantified, and productivity agreements have already been signed at KLM. Transavia is pursuing its rapid development and will serve 47 cities on departure from Paris this summer. The maintenance business is posting strong growth.

The lack of results improvement leads us to implement immediate additional adaptation measures including, in particular, the closure of heavily loss-making routes, the downward revision in capacity for the forthcoming Winter season, together with an acceleration and an increase in the magnitude of our cost-saving initiatives. Following the agreement signed by KLM with its unions, the rapid conclusion of the negotiations with the Air France unions is key to re-launching the results turnaround. At this pivotal moment in Air France-KLM’s history, the Board and I know that we can count on the spirit of responsibility and commitment shared by all the Group’s staff to enable us to return to a growth path.”

Read the Financial Times analysis: CLICK HERE

In other news, KLM is banking on the new Boeing 787-9 (above) to give it a financial spark and lift. The airline issued this preview of the upcoming introduction of the new type:

KLM 787-9 above Amsterdam (KLM)(LRW)

Image Above: KLM. The new Boeing 787-9 over Amsterdam.

For KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, the introduction of the Boeing 787-9 marks the dawn of a new age for both customers and crew. With this aircraft, KLM invests more than ever in its customers and future. KLM has chosen this new aircraft type to ensure its passengers an unforgettable and comfortable journey.

“The Boeing 787-9 enables KLM to offer passengers even more comfort and privacy. KLM has chosen to add specific improvements to this special aircraft, which make it unique among other 787s. All these details add up to ensure our passengers can experience a new way to fly.”

Pieter Elbers – KLM President & CEO
KLM 787-9 Business Seat (KLM)(LRW)Photo Above: KLM. The Boeing 787-9 WBC Seat.

Among the most important features of the Boeing 787-9 are the new World Business Class (WBC) seats, which recline completely flat and have direct access to the aisle; the Economy Class seats, which recline 40% further; a state-of-the-art Inflight Entertainment system; and Wi-Fi for all passengers who want to be online during their flight. Finally, the interiors in WBC, Economy Comfort and Economy Class create a highly hospitable setting onboard.

Lower fuel consumption

With the arrival of this new aircraft type in October 2015, KLM is adding a quieter and more fuel-efficient aircraft to its fleet. The Boeing 787-9 is equipped with highly fuel-efficient engines, which will reduce CO2 emissions by at least 20%.

The aircraft is part of KLM’s program of fleet investment, which began with the introduction of the new World Business Class in the Boeing 747. This was followed by entirely new World Business Class and Economy Class interiors in the Boeing 777-200 and the phased introduction of new Boeing 777-300s. From December 2015, KLM will continue its fleet renewal with the deployment of the Embraer 175 and 190.

New flight mode

The design of the interior of the aircraft creates a typically KLM mood, layout and character onboard the Boeing 787-9. The point of departure for the cabin interior was to maximise comfort and privacy for passengers, while maintaining KLM’s brand values.

KLM 787-9 Cabin (KLM)(LRW)

Above Photo: KLM.

KLM’s Boeing 787-9 is fitted with onboard Wi-Fi. This marks the launch of KLM Wi-Fi, which was tested in earlier trials. It will now be possible to use the internet, email and other online services onboard using laptops, tablets and mobile phones.

Larger windows, a higher cabin pressure and special LED-lighting further enhance the unique flight experience. This is all aimed at ensuring passengers arrive fitter and more rested at their destinations.

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American Airlines Group reports its highest quarterly profit in company history

American Airlines Group (American Airlines and US Airways) today (July 24) issued this financial statement for the second quarter:

American Airlines Group logo

American Airlines Group Inc. (AAL) today reported its second quarter 2015 results.

  • Reported record quarterly net profit of $1.9 billion excluding net special charges, a 27 percent increase versus the second quarter 2014
  • Reported record quarterly GAAP net profit of $1.7 billion, a 97 percent increase versus last year’s second quarter
  • Repurchased over $750 million of common stock and authorized an additional $2 billion share repurchase program
  • Declared a dividend of $0.10 per share to be paid on August 24, 2015, to shareholders of record as of August 10, 2015

American Airlines Group’s second quarter 2015 net profit, excluding net special charges, was a record $1.9 billion, or $2.62 per diluted share versus a second quarter 2014 net profit excluding net special charges of $1.5 billion, or $1.98 per diluted share. The Company’s second quarter 2015 pretax margin excluding net special charges was a record 17.2 percent, up 4.4 percentage points from the same period last year.

On a GAAP basis, the Company reported a record net profit of $1.7 billion, or $2.41 per diluted share. This compares to a GAAP net profit of $864 million in the second quarter 2014, or $1.17 per diluted share.

See the accompanying notes in the Financial Tables section of this press release for further explanation, including a reconciliation of GAAP to non-GAAP financial information.

“Reporting the highest quarterly profit in our history is another indication that our team is on the path to restoring American as the greatest airline in the world,” said Chairman and CEO Doug Parker. “These results are especially remarkable considering the significant and successful work underway to integrate two airlines. The more than 100,000 dedicated team members of American Airlines are doing a phenomenal job and we are grateful for their commitment to our customers.”

Revenue and Cost Comparisons

Total revenue in the second quarter was $10.8 billion, a decrease of 4.6 percent versus the second quarter 2014 on a 1.9 percent increase in total available seat miles (ASMs). Consolidated passenger revenue per ASM (PRASM) was 13.57 cents, down 6.9 percent versus the second quarter 2014. Consolidated passenger yield was 16.28 cents, down 6.1 percent year-over-year.

Total operating expenses in the second quarter were $8.9 billion, a decrease of 10.5 percent compared to the second quarter 2014, due primarily to a 36.9 percent decrease in consolidated fuel expense. Second quarter mainline cost per available seat mile (CASM) was 11.87 cents, down 12.8 percent on a 1.5 percent increase in mainline ASMs versus the second quarter 2014. Excluding net special charges and fuel, mainline CASM was 8.77 cents, up 2.5 percent compared to the second quarter 2014. Regional CASM excluding special charges and fuel was 16.02 cents, up 1.4 percent on a 5.5 percent increase in regional ASMs versus the second quarter 2014.

Cash and Investments

As of June 30, 2015, the Company had approximately $9.7 billion in total cash and short-term investments, of which $747 million was restricted. The Company also had an undrawn revolving credit facility of $1.8 billion.

American continues to invest in its product. As part of an extensive fleet renewal plan that has made American’s fleet the youngest of any U.S. network airline, the Company expects to spend $5.4 billion on new aircraft this year. During the second quarter, the Company took delivery of 24 new mainline aircraft and nine new regional aircraft and retired 34 older mainline and eight older regional aircraft. In addition to this fleet renewal program, American is in the midst of investing $2 billion to further enhance its product, including improvements to aircraft interiors, international Wi-Fi connectivity and upgrades to its Admirals Club lounges.

In the second quarter, the Company returned $823 million to its shareholders through the payment of $70 million in quarterly dividends and the repurchase of $753 million of common stock, or 17.3 million shares, at an average price of $43.53 per share. When combined with the dividends and shares repurchased during the first quarter, the Company has returned approximately $1.1 billion to its shareholders in the first half of 2015, including $943 million of shares repurchased under the existing $2 billion share repurchase program approved in January 2015.

Due to the Company’s strong financial performance, its projected cash flow and the repurchase activity to date, the American Airlines Group Board of Directors has authorized an additional $2 billion share repurchase program to be completed by December 31, 2016. This brings the total amount of share repurchase programs authorized in 2015 to $4 billion. The Company also declared a dividend of $0.10 per share to be paid on August 24, 2015, to shareholders of record as of August 10, 2015.

Share repurchases under the share repurchase program may be made through a variety of methods, which may include open market purchases, privately negotiated transactions, block trades or accelerated share repurchase transactions. Any such repurchases will be made from time to time subject to market and economic conditions, applicable legal requirements and other relevant factors. The program does not obligate the Company to repurchase any specific number of shares or continue a dividend for any fixed period, and may be suspended at any time at the Company’s discretion.

Approximately $629 million of the Company’s unrestricted cash and short-term investment balance was held in Venezuelan bolivars. This balance includes approximately $621 million valued at 6.3 bolivars per U.S. dollar and approximately $8 million valued at 12.8 bolivars per U.S. dollar, with the rate depending on the date the Company submitted its repatriation request to the Venezuelan government. These rates are materially more favorable than the exchange rates currently prevailing for other transactions conducted outside of the Venezuelan government’s currency exchange system.

During 2014, the Company significantly reduced capacity in the Venezuelan market and is no longer accepting bolivars as payment for airline tickets. The Company is monitoring this situation closely and continues to evaluate its holdings of Venezuelan bolivars for additional foreign currency losses or other accounting adjustments, which could be material, particularly in light of the additional uncertainty posed by the recent changes to the foreign exchange regulations and the continued deterioration of economic conditions in Venezuela. More generally, fluctuations in foreign currencies, including devaluations, cannot be predicted by the Company and can significantly affect the value of its assets located outside the United States. These conditions, as well as any further delays, devaluations or imposition of more stringent repatriation restrictions, may materially adversely affect the Company’s business, results of operations and financial condition.

Special Items

In the second quarter, the Company recognized $150 million in net special charges, including:

  • $231 million in merger related integration expenses, including $221 million in mainline special charges and $10 million in regional special charges
  • $77 million in net special credits, including a $68 million credit for bankruptcy related items, principally consisting of fair value adjustments for bankruptcy settlement obligations
  • $11 million non-operating net special credits comprised of a $22 million gain associated with the sale of an investment, offset in part by $11 million in charges principally related to non-cash write offs of unamortized debt discount and debt issuance costs associated with refinancing the Company’s secured term loan facilities
  • $7 million in tax special charges related to certain indefinite-lived intangible assets

Notes:

(1) The 2015 second quarter mainline operating special items totaled a net charge of $144 million, which principally included $221 million of merger integration expenses related to information technology, professional fees, severance, share-based compensation, fleet restructuring, re-branding of aircraft and airport facilities, relocation and training. These charges were offset in part by a net $68 million credit for bankruptcy related items primarily consisting of fair value adjustments for bankruptcy settlement obligations. The 2015 six month period mainline operating special items totaled a net charge of $447 million, which principally included $437 million of merger integration expenses as described above and a net $99 million charge related to the Company’s new pilot joint collective bargaining agreement. These charges were offset in part by a net $73 million credit for bankruptcy related items primarily consisting of fair value adjustments for bankruptcy settlement obligations.

The 2014 second quarter mainline operating special items totaled a net charge of $251 million, which principally included $163 million of merger integration expenses related to information technology, professional fees, severance, share-based compensation, re-branding of aircraft and airport facilities, relocation and training as well as a net $38 million charge for bankruptcy related items primarily consisting of fair value adjustments for bankruptcy settlement obligations and $37 million in charges related to the buyout of leases associated with certain aircraft. The 2014 six month period mainline operating special items totaled a net charge of $114 million, which principally included $365 million of merger integration expenses, $40 million in charges primarily related to the buyout of leases associated with certain aircraft and a net $5 million charge for bankruptcy related items, all as described above. These charges were offset in part by a $309 million gain on the sale of Slots at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

(2) The 2015 and 2014 second quarter and six month period regional operating special items principally related to merger integration expenses.

(3) The 2015 second quarter nonoperating special items totaled a net credit of $11 million and primarily included a $22 million gain associated with the sale of an investment, offset in part by $11 million in charges principally related to non-cash write offs of unamortized debt discount and debt issuance costs associated with refinancing the Company’s secured term loan facilities. The 2015 six month period nonoperating special items totaled a net credit of $19 million and principally included the $22 million gain associated with the sale of an investment as described above and a $17 million early debt extinguishment gain associated with the repayment of American’s AAdvantage loan with Citibank. These special credits were offset in part by $20 million in charges principally related to non-cash write offs of unamortized debt discount and debt issuance costs associated with the debt refinancing as described above and the prepayment of certain aircraft financings.

The 2014 second quarter and six month period nonoperating special items were primarily due to non-cash interest accretion of $2 million and $33 million, respectively, on bankruptcy settlement obligations.

(4) The 2015 second quarter and six month period tax special items were the result of a non-cash deferred income tax provision related to certain indefinite-lived intangible assets.

During the 2014 second quarter, the Company sold its portfolio of fuel hedging contracts that were scheduled to settle on or after June 30, 2014. In connection with this sale, the Company recorded a special non-cash tax provision of $330 million in the second quarter of 2014 that reversed the non-cash tax provision which was recorded in other comprehensive income (OCI), a subset of stockholders’ equity, principally in 2009. This provision represents the tax effect associated with gains recorded in OCI principally in 2009 due to a net increase in the fair value of the Company’s fuel hedging contracts. In accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, the Company retained the $330 million tax provision in OCI until the last contract was settled or terminated. In addition, the Company recorded a special $7 million non-cash deferred income tax provision related to certain indefinite-lived intangible assets in the 2014 second quarter. The 2014 six month period included the $330 million non-cash tax provision related to the settlement of fuel hedges discussed above as well as a special $15 million non-cash deferred income tax provision related to certain indefinite-lived intangible assets.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Ken Petersen/AirlinersGallery.com. American Airlines and US Airways are already operating under a single AOC. However the last US-coded flight will be flight US 434, a red-eye flight from San Francisco to Philadelphia, on October 17, 2015. After that date, all mainline flights will operate under the AA code. Former US Airways Airbus A319-112 N741UW (msn 1269), operated under the US code but now painted in American’s new 2013 livery, approaches the runway at Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU).

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Spirit Airlines reports second quarter adjusted net income increased 12.6% to $74.8 million

Spirit A319 side titles (Spirit)(LRW)

Spirit Airlines, Inc. (Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood) today (July 24) reported second quarter 2015 financial results.

Spirit Less Money More Go logo

Adjusted net income for the second quarter 2015 increased 12.6 percent to $74.8 million ($1.03 per diluted share) compared to the second quarter 20141. GAAP net income for the second quarter 2015 increased 18.3 percent year over year to $76.7 million ($1.05 per diluted share).

Adjusted pre-tax margin for the second quarter 2015 was 21.3 percent1. On a GAAP basis, pre-tax margin for the second quarter 2015 was 21.8 percent.

Spirit ended the second quarter 2015 with unrestricted cash and cash equivalents of $769.3 million.

Spirit’s return on invested capital (before taxes and excluding special items) for the twelve months ended June 30, 2015 was 29.4 percent2.

“Our second quarter 2015 performance was negatively impacted by an unusual number of storms and I want to thank our team members and business partners for their hard work and dedication in serving our customers and helping us to restore our operations to normal,” said Ben Baldanza, Spirit’s Chief Executive Officer. “In addition to an unusual number of storms, we’ve recently seen a noticeable change in competitive pricing behavior. But, the fundamentals of our business haven’t changed: we continue to grow our network while maintaining high margins, delivering strong returns, and offering our customers low fares.”

During June, Spirit experienced consecutive storm systems in Dallas, Chicago, New York, and Detroit followed by Tropical Storm Bill that sat over Houston before moving north to Dallas. The timing and location of these storm systems produced a domino effect on the Company’s operation resulting in over 500 flight cancellations and numerous flight delays. Due to the sheer volume of flights affected, the Company was unable to flex up staffing levels enough to mitigate the impact of crews being displaced or being unable to work due to them reaching their contractual or regulatory work hour maximums. These challenges lengthened the span of the irregular operation and the time it took to restore the system to normal. With its high aircraft utilization, low daily flight frequency and point-to-point network, severe irregular operations typically create a unique set of challenges for the Company; however, the Company believes the unusual number and location of storms in June exacerbated the operational difficulty and made this event unlike others. The Company estimates the impact of the cancellations, delays, and other non-recurring expenses during the quarter negatively impacted operating income by $20 million ($5 million lower revenue, $15 million higher costs). Adjusting for these items, the Company estimates it would have reported adjusted net income of $87.5 million ($1.20 per diluted share).

Revenue Performance

For the second quarter 2015, Spirit’s total operating revenue was $553.4 million, an increase of 10.8 percent compared to the second quarter 2014, driven by an increase in flight volume, partially offset by a decrease in operating yields.

Total revenue per passenger flight segment (“PFS”) for the second quarter 2015 decreased 12.4 percent year over year to $122.59, primarily driven by a 19.4 percent decrease in ticket revenue per PFS. The decline in ticket revenue per PFS was driven by lower fare levels as a result of increased competitive pressures as well as a higher percentage of the Company’s markets being under development compared to the same period last year. Although slightly lower year over year on a per PFS basis, non-ticket revenue continues to provide a stable revenue stream that is increasingly important during periods of lower passenger yields. Non-ticket revenue per PFS only declined 1.7 percent year over year to $54.24. The decrease in non-ticket revenue per PFS was primarily attributable to lower bag revenue per PFS and the outsourcing of the Company’s onboard catering to a third-party provider under a revenue share agreement.

Total revenue per available seat mile (“RASM”) for the second quarter 2015 decreased 14.8 percent compared to the second quarter 2014 on a capacity increase of 30.1 percent. The RASM decrease was driven by lower fare levels as a result of increased competitive pressures as well as the ramp up growth in the Company’s new and mature markets.

Cost Performance

Total operating expenses for the second quarter 2015, excluding $2.9 million of credits related to special items, increased 10.4 percent to $434.0 million3. Including special items, total operating expenses increased 9.4 percent year over year to $431.1 million. Operating expenses benefited from economic fuel expense decreasing 14.8 percent, or $22.8 million, on a fuel volume increase of 27.8 percent.

Spirit reported second quarter 2015 cost per available seat mile (“ASM”) excluding special items and fuel (“Adjusted CASM ex-fuel”)3 of 5.80 cents, a decrease of 2.5 percent compared to the same period last year, driven primarily by lower aircraft rent per ASM, lower distribution expense per ASM, and lower labor expense per ASM. These benefits were partially offset by higher passenger re-accommodation expense per ASM. The decrease in aircraft rent per ASM was driven by a change in the mix of leased (rent recorded under aircraft rent) and purchased (depreciation recorded under depreciation and amortization) aircraft. Lower distribution expense per ASM was in part driven by lower credit card rates related to the modification and extension of Spirit’s credit card processor agreement in late 2014. Labor expense per ASM in the second quarter 2015 was lower compared to the same period last year primarily due to scale benefits from overall growth and from larger gauge aircraft, partially offset by higher health care costs. Passenger re-accommodation expense (recorded under other operating expense) per ASM was primarily higher year over year due to the impact from an unusual number of storm systems that disrupted the Company’s operations.

“Due to the financial impact of the unusual number of cancellations, delays, and other non-recurring items during the quarter, as well as higher healthcare costs, we have revised our full year 2015 Adjusted CASM ex-fuel range and now estimate it will be down 5 to 6 percent year over year,” said Ted Christie, Spirit’s Chief Financial Officer. “Despite these adjustments, I am encouraged about how the business is performing, which establishes a solid base for improved cost performance in 2016 and beyond.”

Share Repurchase

Spirit repurchased approximately 1 million shares during the second quarter, which equated to approximately $67.5 million of the total $100 million authorization.

Fleet

In the second quarter 2015, Spirit took delivery of 3 new A320 aircraft, ending the quarter with 73 aircraft in its fleet.

Fleet Plan:

Spirit 7.2015 Fleet Plan

Other Second Quarter 2015 Highlights

  • Maintained its commitment to offer low fares to its valued customers; average ticket revenue per PFS for the second quarter 2015 was $68.35 with total revenue per PFS of $122.59.
  • Launched service on 24 new nonstop routes in the second quarter 2015.
  • Delivered our first SpaceFlex certified A320, which provides the cabin flexibility to add four additional Big Front Seats to this aircraft and our entire A320 fleet.
  • Received FAA certification to add ten additional seats to the A321 aircraft scheduled for delivery this year and beyond.

Top Photo: Spirit Airlines.

Notes:

(1) Special items include unrealized gains or losses related to fuel derivative contracts, loss on disposal of assets, special charges (credits), and additional federal excise tax on a minority of fuel volume for the period beginning July 1, 2009 through December 31, 2013 recorded in the third quarter 2014.
(2) Excludes special items as described above.
(3) Assumes same marginal tax rate as is applicable to GAAP net income for the twelve months ended June 30, 2015.

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United Airlines announces its highest-ever quarterly profit

United Airlines (Chicago) today reported its largest quarterly profit ever, reporting a second quarter 2015 net profit of $1.3 billion, or $3.31 per diluted share, excluding $67 million of special items.

The company issued this report:

United logo-1

United Airlines (UAL) today reported second-quarter 2015 net income of $1.3 billion, or $3.31 per diluted share, excluding $67 million of special items. Including special items, UAL reported second-quarter net income of $1.2 billion, or $3.14 per diluted share. These results are a record quarterly profit for the company.

  • The company’s Board of Directors authorized an additional $3 billion share repurchase program, which the company expects to complete by the end of 2017.
  • In the quarter, UAL prepaid approximately $800 million of debt, contributed approximately $620 million to its pension plans and returned approximately $250 million to shareholders as part of its existing $1 billion share buyback program.
  • UAL earned an 18.2 percent return on invested capital for the 12 months ended June 30, 2015.

“This quarter’s record results reflect the progress we’re making on our long-term plan, and I’d like to thank the United team for their great work,” said Jeff Smisek, UAL’s chairman, president and chief executive officer. “The $3 billion share repurchase program we announced today demonstrates the confidence we have in our future. We will continue to invest in our customers, assets and our people, and remain committed to improving our balance sheet, expanding our margins and improving our return on invested capital, and expect our third quarter pre-tax margin to be between 13.5 and 15.5 percent, excluding special items.”

Second-Quarter Revenue and Capacity

For the second quarter of 2015, total revenue was $9.9 billion, a decrease of 4 percent year-over-year. Second-quarter consolidated passenger revenue decreased 3.4 percent to $8.7 billion, compared to the same period in 2014. Ancillary revenue per passenger in the second quarter increased 6.7 percent year-over-year. Second-quarter cargo revenue decreased 1.3 percent year-over-year to $229 million. Other revenue in the second quarter decreased 9.6 percent year-over-year, mostly due to the reduction in sales of fuel to a third party. The corresponding expense decline from this reduction appears in third-party business expense.

Consolidated revenue passenger miles increased 0.7 percent and consolidated available seat miles increased 2.3 percent year-over-year for the second quarter, resulting in a second-quarter consolidated load factor of 83.9 percent.

Second-quarter 2015 consolidated PRASM decreased 5.6 percent and consolidated yield decreased 4.1 percent compared to the second quarter of 2014.

“This quarter, we continued to build and refine our route network, including announcing the move of p.s. transcontinental service to our global gateway hub at Newark Liberty Airport and forming a long-term partnership with Azul Brazilian Airlines. These decisions will enhance our network and provide our customers with more choice and convenience,” said Jim Compton, UAL’s vice chairman and chief revenue officer. “We will continue to improve our leading network by focusing on our strengths, while investing in our people, fleet and products to increase revenue and deliver a flyer-friendly customer experience.”

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Javier Rodriguez/AirlinersGallery.com. United has 23 aging Boeing 747-400s that will be eventually replaced with newer Airbus A350-1000s and Boeing 787-10 Dreamliners. Boeing 747-422 N199UA (msn 29717) arrives in Frankfurt.

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Southwest Airlines reports a record second quarter net profit

Southwest Airlines (Dallas) today reported a record second quarter GAAP net profit of $608 million.

The airline issued this statement:

Southwest 2014 logo-1

Southwest Airlines today reported its second quarter 2015 results:

  • Record quarterly net income, excluding special items1, of $691 million, or $1.03 per diluted share. This represented a $206 million increase from second quarter 2014 and exceeded the First Call consensus estimate of $1.02 per diluted share.
  • Record quarterly GAAP2 net income of $608 million, or $.90 per diluted share.
  • Record quarterly GAAP operating income of $1.1 billion. Excluding special items, record quarterly operating income of $1.1 billion, resulting in an operating margin3 of 22.5 percent.
  • Returned $430 million to Shareholders through dividends and share repurchases during second quarter 2015, and $811 million during first half 2015.
  • Return on invested capital, before taxes and excluding special items (ROIC)1, for the 12 months ended June 30, 2015, of 28.2 percent, compared with 17.1 percent for the 12 months ended June 30, 2014.
  • Subsequent to June 30, 2015, the Company amended and extended its co-branded credit card agreement with Chase Bank USA, N.A. (Chase), which is expected to provide generous rewards to the Company’s co-branded credit cardholders and significant future value to the Company’s Shareholders. The Company currently estimates its second half 2015 GAAP operating revenues will increase approximately $400 million from the combined impact of the amended agreement and the effect of a change in accounting methodology4.

Gary C. Kelly, Chairman of the Board, President, and Chief Executive Officer, stated, “We are delighted to report another strong quarter of earnings. Our net income, excluding special items, of $691 million, or $1.03 per diluted share, is an all-time quarterly high and represents our ninth consecutive quarter of record profits. Operating income, excluding special items, increased 40.2 percent year-over-year, producing a strong 22.5 percent operating margin. We significantly expanded our margins and generated very strong cash flows during first half 2015, allowing us to return $811 million to Shareholders through dividends and share repurchases so far this year. In addition, we intend to launch a $500 million accelerated share repurchase program soon. We have a solid investment grade balance sheet, and we are pleased with the recent upgrade to Baa1 by Moody’s. For first half 2015, our record profits have earned our outstanding Employees a record $308 million profitsharing accrual, nearly doubling first half 2014’s contribution. For the 12 months ended June 30, 2015, our ROIC was an outstanding 28.2 percent, far surpassing our cost of capital. Our 2015 results, thus far, are exceptional, and our current outlook for the second half of 2015 is also strong, laying a solid foundation to surpass 2014’s ROIC.

“Fuel savings5 in second quarter 2015 were nearly $500 million, which led to a reduction in our second quarter 2015 unit costs, excluding special items, of almost 12 percent year-over-year. Second quarter 2015 economic fuel costs were $2.02 per gallon, compared with $3.02 per gallon in second quarter 2014. Based on our existing fuel derivative contracts and market prices as of July 20, 2015, we expect significant year-over-year fuel savings again in third quarter 2015, with economic fuel costs currently estimated to be approximately $2.20 per gallon, as compared with third quarter 2014’s $2.94 per gallon.

“We also were very pleased with our overall cost performance. Our cost control efforts, ongoing fleet modernization, and improved aircraft utilization resulted in a 1.8 percent year-over-year decline in our second quarter 2015 unit costs, excluding fuel and oil expense, special items, and second quarter 2015’s record profitsharing expense of $182 million. Based on current cost trends, and excluding fuel and oil expense, special items, and profitsharing, we expect third quarter 2015 unit costs to decline approximately one percent and full year 2015 unit costs to decline approximately two percent, both compared with the same year-ago periods.

“Our second quarter 2015 operating unit revenue performance was impacted by challenging year-over-year comparisons, longer average stage length, higher average seats per trip (gauge), and a softer yield environment. Still, we grew second quarter 2015 operating revenues 2.0 percent to a record $5.1 billion on a year-over-year increase in available seat miles (ASMs) of 7.0 percent. Demand for our popular low fares remained strong throughout the quarter resulting in a record 84.6 percent load factor. Our second quarter 2015 unit revenues declined 4.7 percent, as expected, driven largely by the 5.4 percent decline in passenger revenue yields, both as compared with second quarter last year. The year-ago results included $47 million in additional passenger revenue due to a change to previously recorded estimates of tickets expected to spoil in the future, which impacted second quarter 2015 year-over-year unit revenue comparisons by approximately one percent. Another two to three percent of the second quarter 2015 year-over-year unit revenue decline was driven by a 4.6 percent increase in average stage length and a 2.4 percent increase in gauge, both as compared with second quarter 2014.

“We continue to be extremely pleased with our development markets in Dallas. They are remarkably strong, surpassing system average margins and returns. In April, we launched nine additional daily nonstop flights, bringing our total daily flights out of Love Field to 166. By August 2015, we are scheduled to operate 180 weekday departures to 50 nonstop destinations.

“Our international expansion is also progressing, as planned, and producing expected results. We began service to Puerto Vallarta (PVR) in June and announced daily service between PVR and Denver beginning in November 2015, pending foreign government approval. We are excited to begin service by the end of this year between eight international cities and Houston (Hobby), including inaugural service to Belize City, Belize in October 2015, and Liberia, Costa Rica in November 2015, both pending foreign government approvals.

“Earlier this month, we were delighted to amend and extend our long-standing partnership with Chase for our co-branded credit card agreement. Beginning in third quarter 2015 and continuing thereafter, we expect to realize significant revenue enhancements. Since we re-launched our award-winning frequent flyer program in 2011, we have nearly doubled the size of our program, in terms of membership, and grown our credit card program, proportionately.

“While some yield softness has continued into July, demand thus far remains strong. Based on current bookings and revenue trends, and including the estimated benefit to operating revenues from our amended co-branded credit card agreement, we are currently estimating third quarter 2015 unit revenues to decline a modest one percent from third quarter 2014. Taking into consideration the ongoing impact of increased stage and gauge, as well as 18 percent of our network under development in third quarter 2015, we are very pleased with our third quarter revenue outlook.

“Overall, our network performance is exceptional. For this year, we are growing our ASMs approximately seven percent, year-over-year. The annualized impact of our 2015 expansion is expected to contribute the majority of 2016’s year-over-year capacity growth. As we continue to optimize our network, we are currently planning to grow our total 2016 ASMs in the five to six percent range, year-over-year, with the goal to sustain strong margins and ROIC levels in line with 2015.”

Fleet

During second quarter 2015, the Company’s fleet increased by ten to 689 aircraft at period end. This reflects the second quarter delivery of six new Boeing 737-800s and five pre-owned Boeing 737-700s, as well as the retirement of one Boeing 737 Classic aircraft. The Company continues to manage to roughly 700 aircraft in 2015 and continues to expect to grow its net fleet approximately two percent, year-over-year, in 2016. As an extension of its fleet modernization initiatives, during second quarter 2015, the Company designated its 31 Boeing firm orders in 2016 as 737-800s rather than 737-700s and added 31 pre-owned 737-700 aircraft scheduled for delivery through 2018. In addition, subsequent to June 30, 2015, the Company canceled the 12 737NG options scheduled for delivery in 2016.

Additional information regarding these revisions to the Company’s aircraft delivery schedule is included in the accompanying table:

Southwest 7.2015 737s on order

Notes:

(1) A revenue passenger mile is one paying passenger flown one mile. Also referred to as “traffic,” which is a measure of demand for a given period.

(2) An available seat mile is one seat (empty or full) flown one mile. Also referred to as “capacity,” which is a measure of the space available to carry passengers in a given period.

(3) Revenue passenger miles divided by available seat miles.

(4) Seats flown is calculated using total number of seats available by aircraft type multiplied by the total trips flown by the same aircraft type during a particular period.

(5) Seats per trip is calculated using seats flown divided by trips flown. Also referred to as “gauge.”

(6) Calculated as passenger revenue divided by revenue passenger miles. Also referred to as “yield,” this is the average cost paid by a paying passenger to fly one mile, which is a measure of revenue production and fares.

(7) RASM (unit revenue) – Operating revenue yield per ASM, calculated as operating revenue divided by available seat miles. Also referred to as “operating unit revenues,” this is a measure of operating revenue production based on the total available seat miles flown during a particular period.

(8) PRASM (Passenger unit revenue) – Passenger revenue yield per ASM, calculated as passenger revenue divided by available seat miles. Also referred to as “passenger unit revenues,” this is a measure of passenger revenue production based on the total available seat miles flown during a particular period.

(9) CASM (unit costs) – Operating expenses per ASM, calculated as operating expenses divided by available seat miles. Also referred to as “unit costs” or “cost per available seat mile,” this is the average cost to fly an aircraft seat (empty or full) one mile, which is a measure of cost efficiencies.

(10) Aircraft in the Company’s fleet at period end, less Boeing 717-200s removed from service in preparation for transition out of the fleet.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-7H4 WL N909WN (msn 32458) with the special “Beats Music – Don’t miss a beat” markings arrives in Los Angeles.

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Alaska Air Group reports a record second quarter

Alaska Air Group (Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air) (Seattle/Tacoma) today reported a record second quarter GAAP net profit of $234 million.

The group issued this report:

Alaska (2014) logo

Alaska Air Group, Inc., today reported second quarter 2015 GAAP net income of $234 million, or $1.79 per diluted share, compared to $165 million, or $1.19 per diluted share in the second quarter of 2014. Excluding the impact of mark-to-market fuel hedge adjustments of $6 million ($4 million after tax, or $0.03 per diluted share), the company reported record adjusted net income of $230 million, or $1.76 per diluted share, compared to adjusted net income of $157 million, or $1.13 per diluted share, in 2014.

“We’re pleased to report our 25th consecutive quarterly profit and our best quarterly result ever,” said CEO Brad Tilden. “I want to thank our employees for their hard work and for always putting our customers first. We are focused on running a strong and balanced company that will produce the right outcomes for all of the stakeholders who depend on us, not just this quarter but over the long-term.”

Financial Highlights:

  • Reported record second quarter net income, excluding special items, of $230 million, a 46% increase over the second quarter of 2014.
  • Reported adjusted earnings per share of $1.76 per diluted share, a 56% increase over the second quarter of 2014 and ahead of First Call analyst consensus estimate of $1.73 per share.
  • Earned net income for the second quarter under Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) of $234 million or $1.79 per diluted share, compared to net income of $165 million, or $1.19 per diluted share in 2014.
  • Recorded $58 million of employee incentive pay in recognition of Air Group employees’ progress on meeting customer service, safety, operational and financial goals.
  • Generated record adjusted pretax margin in the second quarter of 25.7% compared to 18.3% in 2014.
  • Generated 20.9% adjusted pretax margin for the trailing 12-month period ended June 30, 2015, compared to 14.9% for the same period in the prior year.
  • Achieved trailing 12-month after-tax return on invested capital of 22.0% compared to 16.1% in the 12-month period ended June 30, 2014.
  • Repurchased 2.5 million shares of common stock for $160 million in the second quarter of 2015, and 4.1 million shares of common stock for $262 million during the first six months of 2015, representing 3.1% of the total shares outstanding at the beginning of the year.
  • Paid a $0.20 per-share quarterly cash dividend on June 4, 2015, a 60% increase over the dividend paid in the second quarter of 2014.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Ken Petersen/AirlinersGallery.com. Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-990 ER N471AS (msn 41703) with APB Split Scimitar Winglets lands in Anchorage.

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