Tag Archives: Boeing 737

Southwest Airlines reports a record first quarter profit

Southwest Airlines Company (Dallas) today reported its first quarter 2015 results:

Southwest 2014 logo-1

Record first quarter net income, excluding special items1, of $451 million, or $.66 per diluted share, compared with first quarter 2014 net income, excluding special items, of $126 million, or $.18 per diluted share. This represented a 266.7 percent increase from first quarter 2014 and exceeded the First Call consensus estimate of $.65 per diluted share.

Record first quarter net income of $453 million, or $.66 per diluted share, which included $2 million (net) of favorable special items, compared with first quarter 2014 net income of $152 million, or $.22 per diluted share, which included $26 million (net) of favorable special items.

Record first quarter operating income of $780 million. Excluding special items, record first quarter operating income of $770 million, resulting in an operating margin2 of 17.4 percent.

Strong free cash flow1 of $859 million used to return $381 million to Shareholders through dividends and share repurchases, and to repay $51 million in debt and capital lease obligations.

Return on invested capital, before taxes and excluding special items (ROIC)1, for the 12 months ended March 31, 2015, of 25.6 percent, compared with 14.2 percent for the 12 months ended March 31, 2014.

Gary C. Kelly, Chairman of the Board, President, and Chief Executive Officer, stated, “We are thrilled to report an exceptionally strong first quarter 2015 earnings performance. Our net income, excluding special items, of $451 million, or $.66 per diluted share, far surpasses any first quarter profit in our history and represents our eighth consecutive quarter of record profits. Our first quarter 2015 operating income, excluding special items, increased over 200 percent year-over-year to $770 million, resulting in a first quarter record 17.4 percent operating margin. Our ROIC for the 12 months ended March 31, 2015, was an outstanding 25.6 percent. These superb results earned our 47,000 hard-working and dedicated Employees a first quarter record $126 million profitsharing accrual, up 334.5 percent from first quarter 2014.

“Total operating revenues were a first quarter record $4.4 billion, driven by a 6.2 percent year-over-year increase in passenger revenues and double-digit year-over-year percentage growth in freight revenues. Customer demand was strong throughout first quarter 2015, resulting in a record first quarter load factor of 80.1 percent. As expected, first quarter 2015 passenger revenues grew in line with our available seat mile (ASM) growth of 6.0 percent, year-over-year. Considering the 4.1 percent increase in stage length and the 2.7 percent increase in seats per trip3 (gauge) from our fleet modernization, year-over-year, we are very pleased with our first quarter 2015 unit revenue performance. Strong revenue and booking trends have continued thus far in April. Second quarter 2015 year-over-year comparisons are more challenging, largely due to last year’s exceptional and above-trend performance. With the continuation of year-over-year increases in stage length and gauge, we currently expect our April 2015 passenger unit revenues to decline, year-over-year, approximately two percent.

“We are delighted also with our unit cost trends, which continue to benefit from increased stage length, increased gauge, lower maintenance costs, and substantially lower fuel prices. Our first quarter 2015 unit costs, excluding special items, declined 12.4 percent year-over-year. First quarter 2015 economic fuel costs were $2.00 per gallon, compared with $3.08 per gallon in first quarter 2014, resulting in over $450 million in economic fuel cost savings. Based on our existing fuel derivative contracts and market prices as of April 16, 2015, we estimate second quarter 2015 economic fuel costs per gallon will be comparable to first quarter 2015’s $2.00 per gallon.

“Setting fuel aside, the solid first quarter 2015 cost performance reflects our intense focus to control costs and maintain our competitive low-cost position. Excluding fuel and oil expense and special items, our first quarter 2015 unit costs were comparable to first quarter last year. Unit costs were down 3.6 percent, year-over-year, when also excluding first quarter 2015 profitsharing expense. Based on current cost trends, and excluding fuel and oil expense, special items, and profitsharing, we expect second quarter 2015 unit costs to decline in the one-to-two percent range, and full year 2015 unit costs to decline approximately two percent, both compared with the same year-ago periods.

“Our network optimization is producing strong financial results, and we are pleased with the performance of our markets under development. We continue to project roughly 700 aircraft by year-end, and an approximate seven percent year-over-year increase in ASMs versus 2014. The full year effect of 2015’s expansion is also estimated to increase 2016 ASMs approximately five percent, year-over-year, and we currently expect any further 2016 ASM year-over-year growth to be modest, with a focus on producing strong returns on our investments. Our incremental fleet growth in 2016 is currently expected to approximate two percent, compared with 2015.

“The Customer response to our new Dallas Love Field service, which represents the majority of 2015 year-over-year ASM growth, is very strong, and first quarter 2015 Dallas traffic has increased 145.5 percent from year-ago levels. In first quarter 2015, we acquired the rights to two additional gates, bringing our total gate occupancy to 18 at Dallas Love Field. By August 2015, we are scheduled to operate 180 weekday departures to 50 nonstop destinations, representing a more than 50 percent increase in flight activity since the lifting of the Wright Amendment restrictions4 in October 2014. We are very pleased to provide more competition, more travel options, and low fares for the Dallas market.

“Our international expansion also continued during first quarter 2015. On March 7, 2015, Costa Rica became our sixth international country served with daily nonstop service between Baltimore/Washington and San Jose, Costa Rica. We also launched international flying from Houston Hobby with seasonal Saturday service to Aruba5. We remain on track to add an additional six international destinations from Hobby later this year with the planned October completion of the international terminal. We look forward to beginning service to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, in June 2015, and pending government approvals, Belize City, Belize, in October 2015.

“We are managing our invested capital aggressively and continue to provide healthy returns to our Shareholders. During first quarter 2015, we returned $381 million through the payment of $81 million in dividends and the repurchase of $300 million in common stock. And, we expect to complete the repurchase of the remaining $80 million under our existing $1 billion share repurchase authorization next month. Our balance sheet, liquidity, and cash flows remain strong, and we ended first quarter 2015 with $3.4 billion in cash and short-term investments, with a fully available unsecured revolving credit line of $1 billion.”

During first quarter 2015, the Company returned $381 million to its Shareholders through the payment of $81 million in dividends and the repurchase of $300 million in common stock, or 5.1 million shares, pursuant to an accelerated share repurchase (ASR) program executed during the quarter. This ASR program was completed in early April, and the Company then received an additional 1.8 million shares, bringing the total shares repurchased under the first quarter 2015 ASR program to 6.9 million. During first quarter 2015, the Company also received the remaining 1.1 million shares pursuant to the fourth quarter 2014 $200 million ASR program, bringing the total shares repurchased under that ASR program to 4.9 million. The Company intends to complete the repurchase of the remaining $80 million under its existing $1.0 billion share repurchase authorization in May 2015.

Boeing 737 Delivery Schedule:

Southwest 4.2015 737 Delivery Schedule

SWAPA logo

In other related news, the Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association (SWAPA) announced it has joined the Partnership for Open and Fair Skies, a coalition of U.S. airlines and airline industry labor unions. These groups seek to level the playing field against heavily subsidized state-owned carriers from Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

“These government-owned Gulf carriers are not playing by the rules their governments agreed to when they signed Open Skies agreements with the U.S.,” said SWAPA President Capt. Paul Jackson. “Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways, and Emirates Airline are being fueled by tens of billions of dollars in state subsidies and that not only puts U.S. airlines at a competitive disadvantage, but also jeopardizes jobs throughout the U.S. airline industry.”

In joining the Partnership for Open and Fair Skies, SWAPA has united with American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, and seven other labor organizations in asking the U.S. government to open consultations with Qatar and the UAE, as provided for within the Open Skies agreements. This step is needed to address the unfair state subsidies that are enabling Qatar, Etihad, and Emirates to rapidly expand their fleets and routes into the U.S. market. SWAPA also backed the Partnership’s call for the U.S. government to seek a freeze on any new passenger service by the Gulf carriers into the U.S. as the consultations go forward.

A 55-page white paper presented by the Partnership to the U.S. government earlier this year and released to the public in March documented $42 billion in state subsidies and other unfair benefits provided to Qatar, Etihad, and Emirates by their respective governments since 2004 alone. That massive state support is a clear violation of Open Skies policy.

“The evidence is too overwhelming and the airline industry is too important to our country for the U.S. government not to take action,” continued Jackson. “Southwest pilots are proud to stand with the other members of the Partnership in calling for a level playing field.”

Copyright Photo: Joe G. Walker/AirlinersGallery.com. Southwest continues to buy previously operated Boeing 737-700s on the open market. Formerly operated by WestJet as C-FWAD, the pictured Boeing 737-7CT is now operating as N566WN (msn 32753) for Southwest in full colors. N566WN arrives at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

Southwest Airlines aircraft slide show (new livery only): AG Airline Slide Show

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Alaska Air Group reports record first quarter results

Alaska Air Group, Inc., (Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air) (Seattle/Tacoma) today reported first quarter 2015 GAAP net income of $149 million, or $1.12 per diluted share, compared to $94 million, or $0.68 per diluted share in the first quarter of 2014. Excluding the impact of mark-to-market fuel hedge adjustments, the company reported record adjusted net income of $149 million, or $1.12 per diluted share, compared to adjusted net income of $89 million, or $0.64 per diluted share, in 2014.

“Our record first quarter results reflect lower fuel prices, but more importantly the tremendous loyalty of our customers in Seattle and across our system” said CEO Brad Tilden. “It is gratifying to see such strong growth and financial results given unprecedented competition. I want to thank our incredible employees who continue to rise to the challenge and deliver outstanding experiences to our customers.”

Financial Highlights:

Reported record first quarter net income, excluding special items, of $149 million – a 67% increase over the first quarter of 2014.

Reported adjusted earnings per share of $1.12 per diluted share, a 75% increase over the first quarter of 2014 and ahead of First Call analyst consensus estimate of $1.10 per share.

Earned net income for the first quarter under Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) of $149 million or $1.12 per diluted share, compared to net income of $94 million, or $0.68 per diluted share in 2014.

Recorded $26 million of employee incentive pay in recognition of Air Group employees’ progress on meeting customer service, safety, operational and financial goals.

Increased fuel efficiency (as measured by seat-miles per gallon) by 2.5% compared to the first quarter of 2014, as part of our effort to be the airline leader in environmental stewardship.

Generated record adjusted pretax margin in the first quarter of 18.9% compared to 11.8% in 2014.

Generated 18.8% adjusted pretax margin for the trailing 12-month period ended March 31, 2015, compared to 13.6% for the same period in the prior year.

Achieved trailing 12-month after-tax return on invested capital of 20.1% compared to 14.8% in the 12-month period ended March 31, 2014.

Repurchased 1.6 million shares of common stock for $102 million in the first quarter of 2015, representing 1.2% of the total shares outstanding at the beginning of the year.

Paid a $0.20 per-share quarterly cash dividend on March 10, 2015, a 60% increase over the dividend declared in the first quarter of 2014.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Alaska Airlines’ Boeing 737-890 N535AS (msn 35200) with Split Scimitar Winglets climbs away from Los Angeles International Airport.

Alaska Airlines aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

Alaska Horizon aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

Horizon Air aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

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The new Eastern is planning to start operations on May 30 with an Honor Flight to Washington area

Eastern Air Lines (2nd) (Miami) is tentatively planning to commence revenue passenger charter operations on May 30 with a Boeing 737-800 charter flight from Miami to the Washington area (planned for BWI) according to the company. The first flight is contingent on receiving its Part 121 AOC. The company is advertising its first flight will be an Honor Flight bringing World War II and Korean War era veterans from South Florida to Washington and return.

Eastern logo (large)

On April 20 the new airline announced it had been tentatively been found fit by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)  and “is owned by a citizen of the U.S. and is fit, willing, and able to conduct interstate and foreign air transportation of persons, property and mail as a U.S. Certificated air carrier.”

The new airline also announced on April 20 its second flight attendant class started on the same day and the next pilot class will start on May 4.

Eastern will now start its FAA proving flights as a necessary next step towards receiving its Part 12 Air Operator Certificate (AOC).

Top Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. The first Boeing 737, the pictured ex-Kenya Airways Boeing 737-8AL N276EA (msn 35070), arrived with much fanfare and celebrations at Miami International Airport (MIA) on December 19, 2014. Since then the prospective airline has been going through the extensive certification process. New passenger airlines in the United States have become a rarity in the current airline consolidation period.

Eastern Airlines (1st) aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

Below: Eastern’s new flight attendant uniforms (Eastern Air Lines):

Eastern (2nd) FA uniforms (EA)(LR)

It is official: Skymark Airlines turns to ANA, Japan returns to a duopoly

Skymark Airlines (Tokyo-Haneda) today (April 22) made it official. According to our partner ZipanguFlyer, the airline, Integral Corporation and ANA Holdings held a press conference today to announce the deal. As a result, Skymark Airlines will cease to be an independent carrier and  Japan will basically return to a two-airline group nation.

Read the full story from ZipanguFlyer: CLICK HERE

Skymark logo-1

ANA Holdings issued this statement:

ANA Holdings logo

Skymark Inc. (Skymark), Integral Corporation (Integral) and ANA Holdings Inc. (ANAHD) have today agreed upon and executed a memorandum of understanding (the “Memorandum”) stating that Integral and ANAHD will jointly support Skymark which is currently undergoing civil rehabilitation proceedings.

1. Background for the Execution of the Memorandum

Since the commencement order of the civil rehabilitation proceedings was announced on February 4, 2015, Skymark has signed a basic rehabilitation support agreement with Integral on February 5, 2015 and is working to quickly revitalize its business with Integral‟s support.

On February 12, 2015, Skymark appointed GCA Savvian Corporation as its financial adviser to broadly solicit and select sponsors who would be willing to support Skymark in its attempt to maintain and develop the value of Skymark‟s business. Following this selection process, Skymark has decided to appoint ANAHD to be the joint sponsor with Integral and has executed the Memorandum with Integral and ANAHD. ANAHD has experience with the rehabilitation of other Japanese airlines and has offered a wide range of support in sales, supplies and maintenance services to improve the value of Skymark‟s business.

ANAHD is the holding company of All Nippon Airways, ANA Wings, Air Japan Company Limited (full service carrier) Vanilla Air Inc. (a provider of low-cost carrier operations), ANA Sales Co., Ltd. (a travel business provider), All Nippon Airways Trading Company Limited (a trading business provider) and several other companies. ANAHD, whose mission statement is “Built on a foundation of security and trust, the „wings within ourselves‟ help to fulfill the hopes and dreams of an interconnected world,” is Japan‟s largest airline group, and has played a major role in Japan‟s air transportation services for over 60 years.

Beginning today, Skymark, Integral and ANAHD will, under the supervision of the Tokyo District Court and court appointed supervisor, hold detailed negotiations on the basis of the Memorandum and will execute sponsorship agreements and formulate a proposed rehabilitation plan (the “Proposed Rehabilitation Plan”) as part of the civil rehabilitation proceeding.

2. Main Points of the Memorandum

The Memorandum stipulates the basic conditions of the joint sponsorship by Integral and ANAHD of Skymark in order to achieve the revitalization of its business as an independent corporation, with shares issued by Skymark to be re-listed on the stock market as soon as possible.

The overview of the Memorandum is as follows;

(1) Capital Contribution and Payment of Debts

It will be stipulated in the Proposed Rehabilitation Plan that Skymark will perform a 100% capital reduction. After a confirmation order for the Proposed Rehabilitation Plan becomes final and binding, Skymark will perform a capital increase through the allocation of new shares. Integral, ANAHD and other entities will subscribe to these shares and become new shareholders.

The total amount of planned investment is 18 billion JPY, which will be used for the payment of debts (comprising common benefit claims, preferred claims and rehabilitation claims) outstanding at the time the confirmation order of the Proposed Rehabilitation Plan becomes final and binding.

The ratio of capital contributions and voting rights shall be apportioned such that Integral will hold 50.1%, ANAHD will hold a maximum of 19.9%, with other entities holding the remainder. Integral and ANAHD will mutually discuss the capital contribution by other entities and decide on such capital contribution by the time of submission of the Proposed Rehabilitation Plan.

In addition, Skymark is planning to execute commitment lines with financial institutions with the support of Integral and ANAHD to ensure that Skymark has the necessary working capital for its business operations.

  1. (2)  Board of Directors
    After the confirmation order of the Proposed Rehabilitation Plan becomes final and binding, the number of directors to the Board of Skymark will be 6. Of these, 3 will be appointed by Integral, 1 will be appointed by ANAHD and the remaining 2 will be decided after discussions between Integral, ANAHD and other contributors. It is contemplated that one of the directors appointed by Integral will be the Chairman and one of the directors appointed by ANAHD or other shareholders will be the President.
  2. (3)  Employment of Employees
    The employment of Skymark‟s employees will, as a general principle, be maintained.
  3. (4)  Re-Listing on the Stock Exchange
    Integral and ANAHD have agreed to make their best efforts and mutually cooperate to work to the common goal of improving the value of Skymark‟s business and to re-list the shares issued by Skymark on the stock market within 5 years of their investment

Top Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-8Q8 JA737T (msn 35290) completes its final approach to the runway at Tokyo (Narita).

Skymark Airlines aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

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Air New Zealand is planning to retire the last Boeing 737 in September

Air New Zealand (Auckland) is tentatively planning to retire its last Boeing 737 from revenue in September. The airline is planning to operate the last Boeing 737-300 revenue flight on September 6 as flight NZ 557 from Auckland to Christchurch according to Airline Route.

Air New Zealand and its associated companies have been a Boeing 737 operator since 1968. National Airways (New Zealand National Airways Corporation) (NAC) (Wellington) took delivery of Boeing 737-219 ZK-NAC (msn 19929) on August 29, 1968, followed by ZK-NAD (msn 19930) on September 11, 1968 and ZK-NAE (msn 19931) on October 5, 1968. NAC was taken over and merged into Air New Zealand on April 1, 1978. At that time ANZ became a Boeing 737 operator.

Top Copyright Photo: Colin Hunter/AirlinersGallery.com. Air New Zealand Boeing 737-3K2 ZK-NGK (msn 26318) approaches the runway at Auckland.

Air New Zealand aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

National Airways-NAC aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: Christian Volpati Collection/AirlinersGallery.com. A fine ramp portrait of NAC’s ex-PSA Boeing 737-214 ZK-NAK (msn 20156).

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Lufthansa to end PrivatAir service in October

Lufthansa (Frankfurt) will reportedly end its cooperative agreement with PrivatAir (Geneva) at the end of the summer season in late October per Airline Route. PrivatAir currently operates Boeing 737-800 aircraft for LH on the Frankfurt – Dammam and Frankfurt – Pune routes.

Copyright Photo: Paul Denton/AirlinersGallery.com. PrivatAir’s Boeing 737-86Q HB-IIR (msn 30295) approaches the runway at Zurich.

Lufthansa aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

PrivatAir aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

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Is Skymark Airlines close to accepting ANA Holdings’ offer?

Skymark Airlines (Tokyo-Haneda) is reportedly close to accepting financial sponsorship from ANA Holdings, the holding company of ANA (All Nippon Airways) (Tokyo) according to this report by our partner ZipanguFlyer. The bankrupt company received bids from over 20 companies. ANA would co-sponsor the embattled carrier with investment fund Integral Corporation according to this report. An official announcement is expected next week.

Will Skymark be able to retain its independent brand or become part of the ANA feeder network?

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Ivan K. Nishimura/AirlinersGallery.com. Under ANA, Skymark is very likely to remain a Boeing operator. Boeing 737-8HX JA73NL (msn 38104) passes through Honolulu on its long delivery route.

Skymark Airlines aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

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