Tag Archives: 32458

Southwest Airlines announces new spring routes

Southwest Airlines (Dallas) beginning on April 12, 2016, will begin offering new nonstop service between:

Grand Rapids, Michigan and Chicago (Midway)

Greenville-Spartanburg, S.C. and Atlanta

Flint, Michigan and Chicago (Midway)

Dayton, Ohio and Chicago (Midway)

St. Louis and Des Moines, Iowa

St. Louis and Wichita, Kansas

St. Louis and Pittsburgh*

Wichita, Kansas and Phoenix

Newark and Orlando

Las Vegas and Newark

*Starts March 10, 2016

In addition to the new routes on April 12, 2016, Southwest will begin offering year-round nonstop service between St. Louis and Seattle/Tacoma, previously offered seasonally.

Southwest serves 96 destinations across the United States, Latin America, and the Caribbean.

Copyright Photo: Mark Durbin/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-7H4 N909WN (msn 32458) in the Beats Music special livery taxies at San Francisco International Airport (SFO).

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

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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.

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

AG Visit our new look

Southwest Airlines crosses the 100 flight milestone to Latin America and the Caribbean

Southwest Airlines (Dallas) for the first time will operate a summer Saturday schedule of 104 scheduled flights among a dozen airports in the continental United States and ten cities across the Caribbean, Mexico, and Central America.

At Los Cabos International Airport (SJD) near San Jose del Cabo, Mexico, Southwest flight 394 touched down on June 13 from Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI), and was welcomed with a ceremonial water arch and a reception at the gate. The nonstop service to/from BWI and the international airport in Baja California Sur operates weekly on Saturdays, and is the carrier’s fourth nonstop market to the Cabo San Lucas region.

The carrier began service in its 95th city, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, via Lic. Gustavo Diaz Ordaz International Airport (PVR) on Sunday, June 7, with daily, nonstop service to/from Orange County/Santa Ana (SNA) and connecting points across the U.S. The carrier has also announced daily, nonstop service between PVR and both Denver and Houston (Hobby). The Ministers of Tourism for both Mexican States of Jalisco and Nayarit are expected to welcome Southwest Airlines in its first month of serving Puerto Vallarta on June 18, the carrier’s 44th birthday.

Southwest spread its wings beyond the 48 contiguous United States in April 2013 with service to San Juan, Puerto Rico. The carrier’s international operations began less than a year ago on July 1, 2014, and include daily, near-international or longer-distance/over-water flights from a dozen gateway cities: Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore/Washington, Chicago (Midway), Denver, Houston (Hobby), Fort Lauderdale, Milwaukee, Orange County/Santa Ana, Orlando, San Antonio, and Tampa Bay. Southwest offers service between the U.S. mainland and San Juan, Puerto Rico, along with these destinations in six countries: Cancun, Mexico City, San Jose del Cabo/Los Cabos, and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; San Jose, Costa Rica; Oranjestad, Aruba; Nassau, The Bahamas; Montego Bay, Jamaica; and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

Next up for Southwest is previously announced scheduled service to the carrier’s seventh near-international country and 96th destination, Belize City, Belize, made possible by a $156 million international terminal facility at Houston (Hobby) scheduled to open October 15, 2015. Then, on November 1, Southwest begins previously announced scheduled service between Houston and the carrier’s 97th city, Liberia, Costa Rica. Both routes are subject to foreign government approval.

Top Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-7H4 N909WN (msn 32458) in the special Beats Music motif arrives at Baltimore-Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport (BWI).

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

Route Map: Southwest Airlines’ foreign expansion to Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean (click on the map for the larger view):

Southwest 6.15 Foreign Route Map

 

Southwest Airlines reports a record 4Q net profit of $190 million and $1.1 billion for 2014, its 42nd consecutive year of profitability

Southwest Airlines Company (Dallas) today reported its fourth quarter and annual 2014 results:

Record fourth quarter net income, excluding special items1, of $404 million, or $.59 per diluted share, compared with fourth quarter 2013 net income, excluding special items, of $236 million, or $.33 per diluted share. This exceeded the First Call consensus estimate of $.55 per diluted share.

Fourth quarter net income of $190 million, or $.28 per diluted share, which included $214 million (net) of unfavorable special items, compared with net income of $212 million, or $.30 per diluted share, in fourth quarter 2013, which included $24 million (net) of unfavorable special items.

Record annual net income, excluding special items, of $1.4 billion, or $2.01 per diluted share, compared with 2013 net income, excluding special items, of $805 million, or $1.12 per diluted share.

Record annual net income of $1.1 billion, or $1.64 per diluted share, which included $261 million (net) of unfavorable special items, compared with net income of $754 million, or $1.05 per diluted share, in 2013, which included $51 million (net) of unfavorable special items.

Return on invested capital, before taxes and excluding special items (ROIC)1, of 21.2 percent for 2014, as compared with 13.1 percent for 2013.

Gary C. Kelly, Chairman of the Board, President, and Chief Executive Officer, stated, “We are extremely proud to report record annual 2014 net income, excluding special items, of $1.4 billion, or $2.01 per diluted share. Our 2014 total operating revenues were strong, increasing 5.1 percent to a record $18.6 billion. Our 2014 operating cost performance was also solid, with costs declining, year-over-year. Our ROIC for 2014 was 21.2 percent. This remarkable achievement would not have been possible without the hard work, perseverance, and determination of our Southwest People, and I commend them for these exceptional results, which earned them a record $355 million in profitsharing for 2014, up 56 percent from the previous record in 2013. Our strategic plan has come together successfully, and we have realized significant contributions from the AirTran integration, fleet modernization efforts, and the continued growth of our Rapid Rewards program.

“Our balance sheet and liquidity remain strong, with cash and short-term investments of $3.0 billion at the end of 2014. We generated strong free cash flow1 of $1.1 billion in 2014, allowing us to repurchase $955 million of Southwest common stock, pay $139 million to Shareholders in dividends, and reduce debt and capital lease obligations by $261 million, net, during the year.

“We concluded 2014 with record fourth quarter profits, excluding special items, of $404 million, or $.59 per diluted share. Total operating revenues were a fourth quarter record $4.6 billion. On a year-over-year basis, our fourth quarter 2014 revenue per available seat mile increased 2.0 percent, which is outstanding considering the 2.4 percent increase in available seat miles (ASMs); the 2.6 percent increase in stage length; the 2.4 percent increase in seats per trip2 (gauge); and the large percentage of our capacity under development. Customer demand remained strong, resulting in a record fourth quarter 2014 load factor of 82.0 percent, up 1.6 points from fourth quarter 2013. We are pleased with our passenger unit revenue and booking trends thus far in January, considering the continuing impact of increasing ASMs, stage length, and gauge, and the large percentage of our capacity under development. Based on these trends, we currently expect our first quarter 2015 passenger revenues to grow in line with the expected six percent increase in first quarter 2015 ASMs, both on a year-over-year basis.

“Our fourth quarter 2014 unit costs, excluding special items, were down 3.8 percent year-over-year, primarily as a result of significantly lower fuel prices. Our first quarter 2015 cost outlook is also favorable. With the collapse in fuel prices since September 2014, fuel prices have declined nearly 50 percent. Based on our existing fuel derivative contracts and market prices as of January 16, 2015, we estimate our first quarter 2015 economic fuel costs to be approximately $1.90 per gallon, which would result in approximately half a billion dollars in year-over-year fuel cost savings for first quarter alone. Excluding fuel and oil expense, special items, and profitsharing, we currently expect first quarter and full year 2015’s unit costs to decline in the one to two percent range, compared with the same year-ago periods, driven largely by our capacity growth and ongoing fleet modernization initiatives.

“December 28, 2014, marked the sunset of the AirTran brand. Overall, the AirTran acquisition resulted in net pre-tax synergies (excluding acquisition and integration expenses) of approximately $500 million in 2014, exceeding our $400 million target.

“We launched international service on Southwest Airlines to seven destinations in five countries in 2014, which will grow to seven countries with our plans to begin service to San Jose, Costa Rica; Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; and Belize City, Belize, in 2015, pending government approvals. We have been very pleased with the overall performance of our markets under development, most notably Dallas Love Field, New York LaGuardia, and Reagan National.

“Without question, 2014 was a monumental year for Southwest Airlines with many notable achievements. My gratitude goes out to our outstanding Employees for their tremendous efforts and the successful execution of our strategic initiatives, which allowed us to achieve our financial goals and expand our service internationally. As we enter 2015, we are well positioned financially and excited about our growth opportunities ahead. We remain steadfast in our unwavering commitment to preserve our financial strength, provide job security for our Employees, protect our low fare brand, and deliver adequate returns to our Shareholders. We live up to that commitment by offering friendly, reliable, and low cost air travel, and by expanding our network in a sensible manner.”

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Listen to the conference call at 12:30 EST today to discuss the results: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Raul Sepulveda/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-7H4 N909WN (msn 32458) taxies at San Juan in the new Beats Music – Don’t miss a beat special livery.

Southwest Airlines aircraft slide show (current livery):

Southwest Airlines today introduces Beats Music on this WiFi-enabled and marked Boeing 737-700

Southwest Airlines introduces Beats Music on WiFi-enabled aircra

Southwest Airlines (Dallas) today (November 3) introduced Beats Music on its WiFi-enabled aircraft. The airline issued this statement:

Southwest Airlines is giving Customers a new reason to pack their headphones! Beginning today, Beats Music is providing a uniquely curated music experience onboard Southwest Airlines WiFi-enabled aircraft.

Customers accessing Beats Music onboard have an opportunity to listen to wide-ranging music programming in pop, rock, country, and other genres to hear fresh new artists and the hottest songs, which are handpicked by Beats Music expert curators. Accessing the service inflight is on the house and includes a library of hundreds of playlists. Not sure what to listen to, but feel like Jet-Setting with your BFF to Pop? The Sentence offers a continuous playlist just for you, customized by your response to four questions about location, activity, surroundings, and musical preference.

The new entertainment service was introduced today at a live demonstration onboard the official Beats Music-decaled Boeing 737 aircraft (above and below).

Southwest Airlines introduces Beats Music on WiFi-enabled aircra

 

To celebrate, a special playlist was created that will come to life with live concerts from a couple of the artists on select Southwest flights at 35,000 feet! The official Beats Music aircraft is planned to depart from Dallas Love Field to Chicago-Midway on flight 732 with Cobra Starship onboard. Customers on this flight will get a Southwest Airlines VIP backstage pass to the most elevated live concert they’ve ever experienced, with an opportunity to meet and receive autographs from the band. Southwest Airlines also is celebrating with Customers on Flight 1527 with Elephant Revival, flying from Portland to Denver.

Beats Music is a music subscription service that combines expert curation with the best technology, so you get music that’s right for you every time. Customers can stream a selection of Beats Music playlists through the Southwest entertainment portal, which is powered by Global Eagle Entertainment Inc., using their personal electronic devices onboard Southwest Airlines WiFi-enabled aircraft. Global Eagle Entertainment is a worldwide provider of media content, technology, and connectivity solutions to the travel industry. Through the industry’s most comprehensive product and services platform, Global Eagle Entertainment provides airlines with a wide range of inflight solutions including WiFi, movies, television, music, interactive software, as well as portable IFE solutions, content management services, e-commerce solutions, and original content development.

The service provided on the Southwest entertainment portal will be compatible with major mobile devices and operating systems, including iOS and Android, as well as most web browsers, and is designed to ensure a seamless and superior quality playback.

Copyright Photos: Southwest Airlines’ Boeing 737-7H4 N909WN (msn 32458) is the first aircraft to wear the special Beats Music markings.

Southwest Airlines Aircraft Slide Show: AG Slide Show

Southwest Airlines introduces Beats Music on WiFi-enabled aircra

Video: Southwest’s executives celebrate Halloween:

Southwest Airlines reports a record third quarter net profit

Southwest Airlines Company (Southwest Airlines and AirTran Airways) (Dallas) today reported its third quarter 2014 results:

Record third quarter net income, excluding special items1, of $382 million, or $.55 per diluted share, compared to third quarter 2013 net income, excluding special items, of $241 million, or $.34 per diluted share. This represented a 61.8 percent increase from third quarter 2013, and exceeded the First Call consensus estimate of $.53 per diluted share.

Record third quarter net income of $329 million, or $.48 per diluted share, which included $53 million (net) of unfavorable special items, compared to third quarter 2013 net income of $259 million, or $.37 per diluted share, which included $18 million (net) of favorable special items.

Record third quarter operating income of $614 million. Excluding special items, record third quarter operating income of $649 million.
Returned $241 million to Shareholders through dividends and share repurchases.

Return on invested capital1, before taxes and excluding special items (ROIC), for the twelve months ended September 30, 2014, of 19.0 percent, as compared to 10.6 percent for the twelve months ended September 30, 2013.

Gary C. Kelly, Chairman of the Board, President, and Chief Executive Officer, stated, “We are very pleased to report another record quarterly profit performance, which resulted in a $100 million third quarter 2014 profitsharing expense for our Employees. Excluding special items, third quarter 2014 net income was $382 million, or $.55 per diluted share, and operating income was $649 million, resulting in a 13.5 percent operating margin2. The 386 basis point year-over-year improvement in operating margin, excluding special items, was driven by strong revenues, lower jet fuel prices, and a solid cost performance.

“Total operating revenues were $4.8 billion, which was a 5.6 percent increase from a year ago, despite a four percent decline in trips and two percent fewer seats flown3, as we work through the transition of AirTran aircraft. Our traffic and revenue trends were strong throughout the third quarter, generating a 4.5 percent year-over-year increase in unit revenues, despite a large percentage of our route system in development or conversion as we continued to transition AirTran flying to Southwest. Our third quarter 2014 revenue strength was driven by record load factors and a strong performance in our Rapid Rewards frequent flyer program. Thus far, revenue momentum has continued into October 2014, with favorable load factor and unit revenue trends. Current bookings for November and December are also good.

“Our third quarter 2014 cost performance benefited from lower jet fuel prices and our fleet modernization efforts. With these trends continuing, we are poised for another solid cost performance for fourth quarter 2014. Based on current cost trends, and excluding fuel and oil expense, profitsharing, and special items, we expect full year 2014 unit costs to increase approximately two percent compared to last year.

“Our third quarter 2014 financial performance was very gratifying, and I commend our outstanding Employees of Southwest Airlines for their unending dedication to providing reliable, low cost operations with our legendary, friendly Customer Service. As an industry leader of low fares and low costs, we are very pleased with the transformative and successful execution of our strategic initiatives that contributed significantly to our 19.0 percent ROIC for the twelve months ended September 30, 2014. Our Employees are the very best in the airline industry, and we were thrilled to unveil a bold, new visual expression of our brand in September. Our Heart aircraft livery, airport experience, and logo marries our past to our present and commemorates the transformation of Southwest in 2014. It is dedicated with much gratitude to our People.

“We are also thrilled with the July 1, 2014, launch of Southwest international service. During third quarter, we began service to Oranjestad, Aruba; Montego Bay, Jamaica; Nassau/Paradise Island in the Bahamas; and San Jose del Cabo/Los Cabos and Cancun, Mexico, all markets previously served by AirTran Airways. Next month, we will initiate Southwest service to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, and Mexico City, which will complete the conversion of international service from AirTran to Southwest. Also during third quarter, we announced that our first destination in Central America will be Juan Santamaria International Airport in San Jose, Costa Rica. The inauguration of this service is expected to be on March 7, 2015, subject to government approval.

“October 13, 2014, was a momentous day for Southwest Airlines. After 34 years, we are finally free from the Wright Amendment restrictions4, and have proudly launched our initial nonstop offerings from Dallas Love Field to seven popular destinations, with ten more nonstop destinations, previously announced, on the horizon.

“In addition to our strong third quarter 2014 earnings performance, our balance sheet, liquidity, and cash flows support our commitment to maintain our financial strength so that we can continue to take great care of our Employees, Customers and Shareholders. At the end of third quarter 2014, we had $3.6 billion in cash and short-term investments. For the nine months ended September 30, 2014, net cash provided by operations was $2.7 billion, and capital expenditures were $1.3 billion, resulting in strong free cash flow1 of $1.4 billion. We have further strengthened our balance sheet and repaid $517 million in debt and capital lease obligations, thus far in 2014, including $167 million in debt and capital lease obligations repaid during the nine months ended September 30, 2014, and $350 million repaid on October 1st. Thus far this year, we have returned $893 million to Shareholders through the payment of $138 million in dividends and the repurchase of $755 million in common stock.”

Financial Results and Outlook

The Company’s third quarter 2014 total operating revenues increased 5.6 percent, while operating unit revenues increased 4.5 percent, on a 1.1 percent increase in available seat miles, all as compared to third quarter 2013. Third quarter 2014 passenger revenues were $4.6 billion, which was an increase of 4.9 percent on a unit basis, as compared to third quarter 2013.

Total operating expenses in third quarter 2014 increased 0.7 percent to $4.2 billion, as compared to third quarter 2013. Third quarter 2014 profitsharing expense was $100 million, compared to $69 million in third quarter 2013. The Company incurred costs (before profitsharing and taxes) associated with the acquisition and integration of AirTran, which are special items, of $23 million during third quarter 2014, compared to $28 million in third quarter 2013. Cumulative costs associated with the acquisition and integration of AirTran, as of September 30, 2014, totaled $488 million (before profitsharing and taxes). The Company expects total acquisition and integration costs to be approximately $550 million (before profitsharing and taxes). Excluding special items in both periods, total operating expenses in third quarter 2014 increased 1.1 percent to $4.2 billion, as compared to third quarter 2013.

Third quarter 2014 economic fuel costs were $2.94 per gallon, including $.05 per gallon in favorable cash settlements from fuel derivative contracts, compared to $3.06 per gallon in third quarter 2013, including $.01 per gallon in favorable cash settlements from fuel derivative contracts. Based on the Company’s fuel derivative contracts and market prices as of October 17, 2014, fourth quarter 2014 economic fuel costs are expected to be in the $2.70 to $2.75 per gallon range, compared to fourth quarter 2013’s $3.05 per gallon. As of October 17, 2014, the fair market value of the Company’s hedge portfolio through 2018 was a net liability of $236 million. Additional information regarding the Company’s fuel derivative contracts is included in the accompanying tables.

Excluding fuel and oil expense, profitsharing, and special items in both periods, third quarter 2014 operating costs increased 2.6 percent from third quarter 2013, and increased 1.5 percent on a unit basis.

Operating income in third quarter 2014 was $614 million, compared to $390 million in third quarter 2013. Excluding special items, operating income was $649 million in third quarter 2014, compared to $439 million in the same period last year, a 47.8 percent increase year-over-year.

Other expenses in third quarter 2014 were $89 million, compared to other income of $29 million in third quarter 2013. The $118 million swing primarily resulted from $66 million in other losses recognized in third quarter 2014, compared to $59 million in other gains recognized in third quarter 2013. In both periods, these gains/losses included ineffectiveness and unrealized mark-to-market amounts associated with a portion of the Company’s fuel hedging portfolio, which are special items. Excluding these special items, third quarter 2014 had $16 million in other losses, compared to $19 million in third quarter 2013, primarily attributable to the premium costs associated with the Company’s fuel derivative contracts. Fourth quarter 2014 premium costs related to fuel derivative contracts are currently estimated to be $13 million, compared to $22 million in fourth quarter 2013. Net interest expense in third quarter 2014 was $23 million, compared to $30 million in third quarter 2013.

For the nine months ended September 30, 2014, total operating revenues increased 5.3 percent to $14.0 billion, and total operating expenses were $12.4 billion, resulting in operating income of $1.6 billion, compared to $893 million in operating income for the same period last year. Excluding special items, operating income was $1.7 billion for the nine months ended September 30, 2014, compared to $1.0 billion for the same period last year. Net income for the nine months ended September 30, 2014, was $946 million, or $1.36 per diluted share, compared to $542 million, or $.75 per diluted share, for the same period last year. Excluding special items, net income for the nine months ended September 30, 2014, was $993 million, or $1.42 per diluted share, compared to $569 million, or $.79 per diluted share, for the same period last year.

Balance Sheet and Cash Flows

As of September 30, 2014, the Company had $3.6 billion in cash and short-term investments, and a fully available unsecured revolving credit line of $1 billion. Net cash provided by operations during third quarter 2014 was $240 million, and capital expenditures were $433 million. The Company repaid $48 million in debt and capital lease obligations during third quarter 2014, and intends to repay an additional $395 million in debt and capital lease obligations during fourth quarter 2014, including $350 million repaid on October 1, 2014.

During third quarter 2014, the Company returned $241 million to its Shareholders through the payment of $41 million in dividends and the repurchase of $200 million in common stock, or 5.0 million shares, pursuant to an accelerated share repurchase (ASR) program executed during the quarter. This ASR program was completed in early October, and the Company then received an additional 1.1 million shares, bringing the total shares repurchased under the third quarter 2014 ASR program to 6.1 million. During third quarter, the Company also received the remaining 1.4 million shares pursuant to the second quarter 2014 $200 million ASR program, bringing the total shares repurchased under that ASR program to 7.4 million. Thus far in 2014, the Company has returned $893 million to its Shareholders through $138 million in dividends, and the repurchase of $755 million in common stock, or 29.2 million shares. The Company has $580 million remaining under its existing $1 billion share repurchase authorization.

Fleet

During third quarter 2014, the Company’s fleet increased by two to 685 aircraft at period end. This reflects the third quarter 2014 delivery of 11 new Boeing 737-800s and two pre-owned Boeing 737-700s, as well as the retirement of one Boeing 737-500. In addition, the Company removed ten Boeing 717-200s from service during third quarter 2014 in preparation for transition out of the fleet.

Boeing 737 Delivery Schedule:

Southwest 737 Delivery Schedule 9.30.14

Copyright Photo: Eddie Maloney/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-7H4 N909WN (msn 32458) arrives at Las Vegas.

Southwest Airlines Aircraft Slide Show: AG Slide Show

AirTran Airways Aircraft Slide Show: AG Slide Show