Spirit Airlines states 2Q results were impacted by 850 pilot-related flight cancellations

Spirit Airlines Airbus A320-232 WL N641NK (msn 6566) BWI (Tony Storck). Image: 928992.

Spirit Airlines, Inc. reported second quarter 2017 financial results.

  • GAAP net income for the second quarter 2017 was $78.1 million ($1.12 per diluted share), or $79.1 million ($1.14 per diluted share)1excluding special items.
  • GAAP operating margin for the second quarter 2017 was 18.9 percent, or 19.1 percent excluding special items1.
  • Spirit ended the second quarter 2017 with unrestricted cash, cash equivalents, and short-term investments of $969.6 million.
  • Spirit’s return on invested capital (non-GAAP, before taxes and excluding special items) for the twelve months ended June 30, 2017 was 20.3 percent2.

“The progress we made with our revenue initiatives, as well as the underlying revenue trends as we headed into the June quarter, were encouraging.  Unfortunately, given the level of operational disruptions and the associated financial impact, the second quarter 2017 performance overall was disappointing. We sincerely apologize to our customers who were affected by the flight disruptions during the quarter,” said Bob Fornaro, Spirit’s President and Chief Executive Officer.  “Despite our financial and operational challenges in the second quarter 2017, the changes in our pricing and revenue management strategies helped to drive year-over-year improvement in passenger and non-ticket revenue per segment — this is the first time in over two and a half years either of these metrics increased year over year.”

Revenue Performance

For the second quarter 2017, Spirit’s total operating revenue was $701.7 million, an increase of 20.1 percent compared to the second quarter 2016, driven by a 9.3 percent increase in flight volume and a 7.1 percent increase in operating yields.

Total revenue per available seat mile (TRASM) for the second quarter 2017 increased 5.7 percent compared to the same period last year. During the second quarter 2017, the Company’s results benefited from the calendar shift of Easter, as well as Company driven revenue initiatives and a strong underlying demand environment.

On a per passenger flight segment basis, total revenue for the second quarter 2017 increased 8.5 percent year over year to $113.07 with ticket revenue per passenger flight segment increasing 13.4 percent to $59.93 and non-ticket per passenger flight segment increasing 3.5 percent to $53.14.

Cost Performance

For the second quarter 2017, total GAAP operating expense, including special items of $1.5 million3, increased 23.1 percent, or $106.6 million, year over year to $568.9 million.  Adjusted operating expense for the second quarter 2017 increased 25.1 percent, or $113.7 million to $567.5 million4. The increase in both GAAP and adjusted operating expense was primarily driven by an increase in flight volume, higher passenger re-accommodation expense (recorded within other operating expenses), and higher fuel rates.

Aircraft fuel expense increased in the second quarter 2017 by 25.7 percent, or $29.1 million, compared to the same period last year, due to a 12.9 percent increase in the cost of fuel per gallon and a 11.1 percent increase in fuel gallons consumed.

Spirit reported second quarter 2017 cost per available seat mile (“ASM”), excluding special items and fuel (“Adjusted CASM ex-fuel”), of 5.83 cents4, an increase of 10.0 percent compared to the same period last year, driven primarily by higher passenger re-accommodation expense per ASM and higher depreciation and amortization per ASM.

Pilot-Related Cancellations

During the second quarter 2017, the Company had over 850 pilot-related flight cancellations.  The Company estimates these pilot-related cancellations adversely impacted its second quarter 2017 results by approximately $45 million (approximately $25 million of revenue loss and $20 million of additional operating costs, primarily related to higher passenger re-accommodation expense).  The Company estimates that had these cancellations not occurred, TRASM for the second quarter would have been up approximately 6.5 percent year over year (with the Easter shift accounting for approximately 400 basis points of the year over year increase) and Adjusted CASM ex-fuel would have been up approximately 2.0 percent year over year.

“While our cost performance for the second quarter was not satisfactory, we do not believe it materially changes our long-term cost outlook and are confident that we will continue to maintain, or grow, our relative cost advantage,” said Ted Christie, Spirit’s Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.

Labor

Spirit and its pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, remain in open contract negotiations under the supervision of the National Mediation Board.

Fleet

Spirit took delivery of three new A320ceo aircraft and one new A321ceo aircraft during the second quarter 2017, ending the quarter with 104 aircraft in its fleet.

Recent New Service Announcements

Hartford – Orlando (4/27/17)
Hartford – Myrtle Beach (4/27/17)*
Akron-Canton – Las Vegas (4/27/17)
Akron-Canton – Myrtle Beach (4/27/17)*
Newark – Houston (4/27/17)
Houston – Seattle (4/27/17)*
Baltimore – New Orleans (5/25/17)
Baltimore – Oakland (5/25/17)*
Baltimore – San Diego (5/25/17)
Baltimore – Seattle (5/25/17)
Cleveland – New Orleans (5/25/17)
Detroit – Oakland (5/25/17)*
Detroit – Seattle ( 5/25/17)*
Orlando – New Orleans (5/25/17)
Pittsburgh – Dallas (5/25/17)
Pittsburgh – Myrtle Beach (5/25/17)*
Hartford – Fort Lauderdale (6/15/17)
Pittsburgh – Fort Lauderdale (6/16/17)
Pittsburgh – Las Vegas (6/22/17)
Pittsburgh – Orlando (6/22/17)
Pittsburgh – Los Angeles (7/13/17)
Pittsburgh – Houston (7/13/17)
Pittsburgh –  Fort Myers (11/9/17)**
Pittsburgh – Tampa (11/9/17)**
Hartford – Fort Myers (11/9/17)**
Hartford – Tampa (11/9/17)**
Baltimore – Cancun (11/9/17)
Chicago – Cancun (11/9/17)

* Seasonal Summer Service
** Seasonal Winter Service

Copyright Photo: Spirit Airlines Airbus A320-232 WL N641NK (msn 6566) BWI (Tony Storck). Image: 928992.

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