SkyWest, Inc. today reported financial and operating results for Q1 2019, including net income of $88 million, or $1.69 per diluted share, compared to net income of $54 million, or $1.03 per diluted share, for Q1 2018. Adjusted net income in Q1 2019 was $69 million, up 27% from Q1 2018 primarily due to SkyWest’s ongoing fleet transition, as SkyWest has added 43 new aircraft since Q1 2018, and reduced aircraft ownership costs resulting from early lease buyouts executed in early 2019.
Commenting on the results, Chip Childs, Chief Executive Officer and President of SkyWest, said, “This quarter was significant for SkyWest as we move forward as one airline with a smaller, but more efficient footprint. Our team performed well this quarter through a series of severe weather events. We are encouraged with our progress and are working together with our 14,000 employees to deliver the best possible product to our partners.”
Revenue was $724 million in Q1 2019, down from $783 million in Q1 2018 due to the sale of ExpressJet Airlines (“ExpressJet”) in January 2019. Excluding ExpressJet revenue in both periods, revenue increased to $700 million in Q1 2019 from $622 million in Q1 2018 primarily from the impact of adding 35 new E175 and eight new CRJ900 aircraft since Q1 2018.
Operating expenses were $627 million in Q1 2019, down from $695 million in Q1 2018 due to the sale of ExpressJet. Excluding ExpressJet operating expenses in both periods, operating expenses increased to $599 million in Q1 2019 from $528 million in Q1 2018, primarily from the additional aircraft placed into service, higher labor costs and special item operating expenses in Q1 2019.
The adjusted results for the quarter exclude $24.7 million of pre-tax earnings comprised of the gain on the sale of ExpressJet of $46.6 million (pre-tax) and a $21.9 million (pre-tax) expense primarily due to a non-cash write-off of aircraft manufacturer part credits forfeited to settle future lease return obligations.
Flying contract extension
SkyWest announced today that it has agreed to a multi-year extension with American Airlines on 38 CRJ700 aircraft (top). These aircraft previously had contract maturities scheduled to begin in late 2019. SkyWest also expects to add two used CRJ700 aircraft to the American contract in Q2 2019 under a multi-year term.
Lease agreement with a third-party for 29 CRJ700 aircraft
SkyWest also announced today that it has agreed to lease 29 CRJ700 aircraft to a third-party for a ten-year term, subject to the finalization of their flying contract. SkyWest anticipates the aircraft will be placed under lease in increments from mid-2019 to mid-2020.
Delivery schedule under previously announced agreements
E175 aircraft to be financed by SkyWest and operated for Delta Air Lines and Alaska Airlines:
- Took delivery of one aircraft during Q1 2019 (Delta contract)
- Scheduled to take delivery of four aircraft in Q2 2019 (Delta contract)
- Scheduled to take delivery of four aircraft in mid-2020 (Delta contract)
- Scheduled to take delivery of three aircraft in 2021 (Alaska contract)
SkyWest expects to remove a used CRJ900 aircraft from its contract with Delta as each of these ERJ175 aircraft is placed into service with Delta (total of nine CRJ900 expected removals). As previously announced, SkyWest anticipates leasing five CRJ900s to a third party under a six-year term and returning four CRJ900s to a lessor following removal of service with Delta.
CRJ900 aircraft to be financed by Delta and operated by SkyWest for Delta:
- Took delivery of three aircraft during Q1 2019
- Scheduled to take delivery of four aircraft in mid-2019
- Scheduled to take delivery of eight aircraft in 2020
SkyWest expects to remove a used CRJ700 from its contract with Delta as each of these CRJ900 financed by Delta is placed into service. As previously announced, SkyWest anticipates transitioning the CRJ700s removed under this arrangement with Delta to an agreement with American.
Joint venture with Regional One
SkyWest entered into a joint venture with Regional One during Q1 2019. The primary purpose of the joint venture is to lease spare engines to third parties. SkyWest anticipates initiating transactions through the joint venture beginning in Q2 2019, including the transfer of 14 engines into the joint venture.
Previously announced transactions that closed in Q1 2019
In January 2019, SkyWest completed the previously announced sale of ExpressJet to ManaAir, LLC. The transaction was completed in two parts, through an asset sale and stock sale, for an aggregate sales price of $77 million. SkyWest loaned $26 million to ManaAir in conjunction with the closing.
SkyWest also completed the previously-announced early leveraged lease buyout on 16 CRJ700s and 36 CRJ200s. SkyWest used $110 million in Q1 2019 to acquire these aircraft off lease. SkyWest assumed no debt on these aircraft.
Capital and Liquidity
SkyWest had $544 million in cash and marketable securities at March 31, 2019, down from $689 million at December 31, 2018. During the first quarter of 2019, SkyWest:
- Used $110 million to acquire 52 CRJ aircraft under an early lease buyout
- Used $90 million to acquire 16 used CRJ700s previously operated and leased by a SkyWest entity. SkyWest anticipates leasing the majority of airframes and engines to third parties and using a portion of aircraft components as spare parts.
- Received $51 million net cash from the sale of ExpressJet
- Used $25 million to repurchase stock, of which $21 million was purchased under SkyWest’s $250 million share repurchase program approved during Q1 2019
- Used $4 million toward the purchase of one E175 aircraft
- Used $28 million for other capital investments, primarily related to spare engines, aircraft parts and maintenance assets
Total debt at March 31, 2019 was $3.1 billion, down from $3.2 billion as of December 31, 2018. Q1 2019 ending debt balance included debt issued for one E175 aircraft acquired during the quarter, offset by principal payments.
Top Copyright Photo (all others by the airline): American Eagle Airlines (2nd)-SkyWest Airlines Bombardier CRJ700 (CL-600-2C10) N710SK (msn 10170) LAX (Michael B. Ing). Image: 946297.
American Eagle-SkyWest aircraft slide show:
Alaska SkyWest route map:
American Eagle route map:
Delta Connection route map:
United Express route map: