SkyWest, Inc. (SkyWest Airlines and ExpressJet Airlines) (St. George, UT) today reported net income of $13.9 million, or $0.27 per diluted share, for the quarter ended December 31, 2012, compared to a net loss of $(18.0) million, or $(0.35) per diluted share, for the same period last year.
SkyWest’s operating and financial results for the quarter ended December 31, 2012 reflect a significant improvement compared to the same period of 2011, primarily as a result of recording additional revenues from an increase in block hour production and continuing to reduce its cost structure as part of its profit improvement plan; however, for financial reporting purposes, the increased revenues were offset by lower reimbursement payments for fuel and maintenance overhaul expenses under contracts with SkyWest’s major partners, resulting in a net decrease in total operating revenues. These efforts resulted in a $53.3 million improvement in pretax income and an improvement in fully diluted earnings per share of $0.62 for the quarter ended December 31, 2012, compared to the same period last year. This is the fourth quarter in a row where reported results have exceeded market estimates. Following are some selected highlights for the quarter and twelve months ended December 31, 2012 compared to the same periods last year:
Dollars in thousands, except per share amounts
|Three Months Ended
|Twelve Months Ended
|| % Change
|Total operating revenue
|Total operating margin
|Pretax income (loss)
|Net income (loss)
|Fully diluted earnings per share
Commenting on the results, Jerry C. Atkin, SkyWest’s Chairman and CEO, said “We are very pleased with our operating and financial results for the quarter ended December 31, 2012. This is a solid result for a quarter that can typically be very challenging.” He continued, “We continue to make positive progress in our cost reduction efforts that are resulting in improved profits, quarter over quarter.”
Financial and Operating Results
Under certain of SkyWest’s flying contracts, fuel purchased for SkyWest flights has been directly reimbursed by SkyWest’s major partners and, for financial reporting purposes, was included in operating revenues. The majority of fuel is now purchased directly by SkyWest’s major partners and as a result, SkyWest experienced a reduction of $92.5 million in reported operating revenues and operating expenses related directly to fuel purchases by its major partners under its contract flying, for the quarter ended December 31, 2012, compared to the quarter ended December 31, 2011.
Operating revenues totaled $810.7 million for the quarter ended December 31, 2012, compared to $899.9 million for the same period last year or a decrease of $89.2 million, or 9.9%, The decrease was due primarily to the reduction of $115.8 million of fuel and certain engine overhaul amounts which are directly reimbursed by major partners and recorded as operating revenues, offset by an increase in revenues of approximately $27.5 million as a result of additional block hour production and incentive amounts for improvements in completion factors and on-time performance for its flights. Total block hours for the quarter ended December 31, 2012 were 568,808, or an increase of 3.3 percent, compared to 550,808 for the same period last year.
Total airline expenses (consisting of total operating and interest expenses) decreased $139.1 million, or 15.0%, during the quarter ended December 31, 2012, compared to the same period in 2011. However, after excluding pass-through costs for fuel and certain engine overhaul expenses that are directly reimbursed by SkyWest’s major partners, total airline expenses decreased $35.2 million or 4.6%. The decrease was primarily the result of 1) reduced non-pass through maintenance costs of approximately $14.7 million, 2) reduced United Express CRJ200 engine overhaul costs of approximately $8.7 million and 3) reduced customer service labor of approximately $7.9 million due to the elimination of handling of flights at certain airports.
Under United Express agreements for SkyWest Airlines, Inc. (St. George) and ExpressJet Airlines, Inc. (Atlanta) SkyWest recognizes revenue at fixed hourly rates for mature engine maintenance on regional jet engines and SkyWest recognizes engine maintenance expense on its CRJ200 regional jet engines on an as-incurred basis as maintenance expense. During the quarter ended December 31, 2012, CRJ200 engine expense under these agreements decreased $8.7 million to $10.6 million compared to $19.3 million for the quarter ended December 31, 2011, as a result of decreased engine overhaul expense due to the timing of scheduled engine maintenance events. SkyWest was reimbursed approximately $10.3 million and $8.9 million for engine overhaul expense, under its United Express agreements, in each of the periods ended December 31, 2012 and 2011, respectively.
At December 31, 2012, SkyWest had $709.4 million in cash and marketable securities, compared to $646.5 million as of December 31, 2011. The increase in cash and marketable securities of $62.9 million was primarily the result of increased profitability for the twelve-month period ended December 31, 2012. SkyWest’s long-term debt was $1.47 billion as of December 31, 2012, compared to $1.61 billion as of December 31, 2011. The decrease in long-term debt was due primarily to SkyWest’s payment of normal recurring debt obligations. SkyWest has significant long-term lease obligations that are recorded as operating leases and are not reflected as liabilities on SkyWest’s consolidated balance sheets. At a 4.7% discount rate, the present value of these lease obligations was approximately $1.8 billion as of December 31, 2012.
Recent Business Developments
SkyWest (Delta Connection) recently announced the award of 34 additional dual-class aircraft and the removal of 66 CRJ200 aircraft with Delta Airlines, Inc. (Atlanta) and has taken delivery of 20 of these dual-class aircraft by December 31, 2012. The remaining 14 aircraft have planned delivery dates between January and May 2014. SkyWest anticipates removal of the 66 CRJ200 aircraft starting in October of 2013.
SkyWest also recently announced the signing of an agreement with American Airlines, Inc. (Dallas/Fort Worth) to operate 23 Bombardier CRJ200 regional jet aircraft as American Eagle and had integrated 12 of these aircraft into operations by December 31, 2012. The remaining 11 aircraft have been introduced into service February 14, 2013.
SkyWest recently announced the execution of an Aircraft Purchase Agreement with Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation covering the purchase of 100 Mitsubishi regional jet aircraft. Deliveries are currently expected to begin in 2016.
SkyWest has increased its total fleet to 744 aircraft as of December 31, 2012, compared to 732 aircraft as of December 31, 2011.
Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing. SkyWest Airlines now has 23 Bombardier CRJ200 regional jets in operation for American Airlines as an American Eagle Carrier. Unfortunately for SkyWest, the newly painted aircraft will have to be painted in the new American Eagle livery. CRJ200 (CL-600-2B19) N464SW (msn 7827) climbs away from Los Angeles International Airport.
American Eagle-SkyWest Route Map: The American Eagle operation is based in Los Angeles.