Tag Archives: first quarter

American Airlines Group reports a record first quarter GAAP net profit of $932 million

American Airlines Group Inc. (American Airlines) (Dallas/Fort Worth) today reported its first quarter 2015 results.

Reported record first quarter 2015 net profit of $1.2 billion excluding net special charges, tripling the Company’s first quarter 2014 net profit of $402 million excluding net special credits

Reported record first quarter 2015 GAAP net profit of $932 million, a $452 million improvement versus the Company’s first quarter 2014 GAAP net profit of $480 million

Achieved several critical integration milestones during the quarter, including a combined frequent flyer program and recalibration of the schedule at the Company’s hubs at Chicago O’Hare and Dallas/Fort Worth. Also obtained a single operating certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in early April

Declared a dividend of $0.10 per share to be paid on May 18, 2015, to shareholders of record as of May 4, 2015

Excluding net special charges, American Airlines Group’s first quarter 2015 net profit was a record $1.2 billion, or $1.73 per diluted share. This represents a tripling of the Company’s first quarter 2014 net profit excluding net special credits of $402 million, or $0.54 per diluted share. The Company’s first quarter 2015 pretax margin excluding net special charges was a record 12.7 percent, up 8.6 percentage points from the same period last year.

On a GAAP basis, the Company reported a record net profit of $932 million, or $1.30 per diluted share. This compares to a GAAP net profit of $480 million in the first quarter 2014, or $0.65 per diluted share.

“We are pleased to report record first quarter profits, exceeding the prior record set just last year,” said Doug Parker, American Airlines Group Chairman and CEO. “The credit belongs to our 100,000 team members who are working together to restore American to the greatest airline in the world. We are particularly pleased with the integration achievements our team has realized and look forward to building on those successes through 2015 and beyond.”

Revenue and Cost Comparisons

While core demand remains healthy, first quarter 2015 revenue was impacted by competitive capacity growth, a stronger U.S. dollar and economic softness in Latin America. Total revenue in the first quarter was $9.8 billion, a decrease of 1.7 percent versus the first quarter 2014 on a 0.9 percent decrease in total available seat miles (ASMs). Consolidated passenger revenue per ASM (PRASM) was 13.44 cents, down 1.7 percent versus the first quarter 2014. Consolidated passenger yield was 16.82 cents, down 1.2 percent year-over-year.

Total operating expenses in the first quarter were $8.6 billion, a decrease of 7.1 percent compared to the first quarter 2014 due primarily to a 42.2 percent decrease in consolidated fuel expense. First quarter mainline cost per available seat mile (CASM) was 12.80 cents, down 5.2 percent on a 1.7 percent decrease in mainline ASMs versus the first quarter 2014. Excluding special charges and fuel, mainline CASM was 9.49 cents, up 5.8 percent compared to the first quarter 2014. Regional CASM excluding special charges and fuel was 16.47 cents, down 0.9 percent on a 5.7 percent increase in regional ASMs versus the first quarter 2014.

Liquidity

As of March 31, 2015, the Company had approximately $9.9 billion in total cash and short-term investments, of which $757 million was restricted. The Company also had an undrawn revolving credit facility of $1.8 billion.

Also in the first quarter, the Company returned $260 million to its shareholders through the payment of $70 million in quarterly dividends and the repurchase of $190 million of common stock, or 3.8 million shares, at an average price of $49.47 per share.

Shares repurchased under the buyback program may be made through a variety of methods, which may include open market purchases, privately negotiated transactions, block trades or accelerated share repurchase transactions. Any such repurchases will be made from time to time subject to market and economic conditions, applicable legal requirements and other relevant factors. The program does not obligate the Company to repurchase any specific number of shares or continue a dividend for any fixed period, and may be suspended at any time at the Company’s discretion.

The Company also purchased approximately 87,230 shares from its Disputed Claims Reserve at the prevailing market price to satisfy certain tax obligations resulting from the February 10, 2015 distribution.

Approximately $644 million of the Company’s unrestricted cash and short-term investment balance was held in Venezuelan bolivars. This balance includes approximately $621 million valued at 6.3 bolivars to the U.S. dollar and approximately $23 million valued at 12.0 bolivars to the U.S. dollar, with the rate depending on the date the Company submitted its repatriation request to the Venezuelan government. These rates are materially more favorable than the exchange rates currently prevailing for other transactions conducted outside of the Venezuelan government’s currency exchange system. The Company’s cash balance held in Venezuelan bolivars decreased $12 million from the December 31, 2014 balance of $656 million due to payments made in bolivars for local operating expenditures.

During 2014, the Company significantly reduced capacity in the Venezuelan market and is no longer accepting bolivars as payment for airline tickets. The Company is monitoring this situation closely and continues to evaluate its holdings of Venezuelan bolivars for additional foreign currency losses or other accounting adjustments, which could be material, particularly in light of the additional uncertainty posed by the February 2015 changes to the foreign exchange regulations and the continued deterioration of economic conditions in Venezuela. More generally, fluctuations in foreign currencies, including devaluations, cannot be predicted by the Company and can significantly affect the value of its assets located outside the United States. These conditions, as well as any further delays, devaluations or imposition of more stringent repatriation restrictions, may materially adversely affect the Company’s business, results of operations and financial condition.

Notable Accomplishments

Merger Accomplishments

Merged frequent flyer programs by moving US Airways Dividend Miles members into AAdvantage®
In April, received a single operating certificate from the FAA which allows the airline to operate under one certificate
Achieved a ratified 5-year contract with the carrier’s 15,000 pilots that provides industry leading pay rates
Optimized the Company’s flight schedule at Chicago O’Hare International Airport and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport
Co-located operations at eight more airports across its network, bringing the total number of co-locations to 114

Finance Accomplishments

Completed a $500 million unsecured bond offering priced at 4.625% and a $1.2 billion enhanced equipment trust certificate (EETC) issue priced at a blended rate of 3.425%. In addition, in April the Company refinanced its $750 million 2014 slot, gate and route term loan at lower interest rates and improved collateral terms
On March 20, the Company was added to the S&P 500 index
Marketing, Network and Fleet Accomplishments

Took delivery of the first two Boeing 787 Dreamliners, which will enter domestic service in May 2015, and begin flying internationally in June 2015. Also, as part of its ongoing fleet renewal program, the Company took delivery of 18 new mainline aircraft, and retired its last Boeing 767-200

Signed a codeshare agreement with Korean Air to place its code on American flights between Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and Seoul, South Korea

Became the official airline partner of the Los Angeles Clippers and was named the official airline of the Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field

In the first quarter, the Company recognized $311 million in net special charges, including:

$223 million in merger related integration expenses, including $216 million in mainline special charges and $7 million in regional special charges

$99 million in charges relating to the Company’s new pilot joint collective bargaining agreement

$6 million in net credits for bankruptcy related items, principally consisting of fair value adjustments for bankruptcy settlement obligations

$8 million non-operating net special credits comprised of a $17 million early debt extinguishment gain on the repayment of American’s AAdvantage® loan with Citibank, offset in part by a $9 million charge related to the prepayment of certain aircraft financings

$9 million in tax special charges related to certain indefinite-lived intangible assets

Copyright Photo: AirlinersGallery.com. The new Boeing 787-8 goes into revenue service next month. The pictured Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner N801AC (msn 40619) was the second, delivered on February 27. N801AC is pictured landing at London (Heathrow) on a proving and training flight.

American Airlines aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show AG Prints-6 Sizes

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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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AeroMexico reduces its first quarter net loss to $6.8 million

AeroMexico (Mexico City) issued the following financial statement for the first quarter:

 

Grupo Aeromexico S.A.B de C.V. (AeroMexico) reported its unaudited consolidated results for the first quarter 2014:

  •   Grupo Aeromexico reported total revenues of $9.777 billion pesos; a 6.6% year-on-year increase.
  •   The cost of available seat kilometers (CASK) excluding fuel decreased 3.6% year-on-year in the first quarter 2014, representing the fifth consecutive quarter with a year-on-year decrease in this indicator.
  •   First quarter 2014 EBITDAR reached $1.393 billion pesos, with a 14.2% margin. Operating income was $31 million pesos.
  •   Grupo Aeromexico reported a net loss of $90 million pesos ($6.8 million) in the first quarter 2014, which compares favorably to the net loss of $122 million pesos ($9.3 million) reported in the first quarter of 2013.
  •   Grupo Aeromexico retired two Boeing 737-700 from its fleet, both under a pure lease agreement. Grupo Aeromexico’s operating fleet therefore consisted of 115 aircraft as of March 31, 2014.
  •   First quarter load factor reached 79.3%; a 5.8 percentage point increase compared to the first quarter of 2013.

 

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-752 XA-MAH (msn 35122) with the special “Club Premier Credit Card” advertising markings prepares to land at Los Angeles International Airport.

AeroMexico: AG Slide Show

Spirit Airlines’ adjusted first quarter net income increases 15.4% to $37.8 million

Spirit Airlines, Inc. (Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood) today reported first quarter 2014 financial results.

Adjusted net income for the first quarter 2014 increased 15.4 percent to $37.8 million ($0.52 per diluted share) compared to $32.8 million ($0.45 per diluted share) for the first quarter 20131. GAAP net income for the first quarter 2014 was $37.7 million ($0.51 per diluted share) compared to $30.6 million ($0.42 per diluted share) in the first quarter 2013.

For the first quarter 2014, Spirit achieved an adjusted pre-tax margin of 13.7 percent compared to 14.4 percent over the same period in 20131. On a GAAP basis, pre-tax margin for the first quarter 2014 was 13.7 percent compared to 13.4 percent in the first quarter 2013.

Spirit ended the first quarter 2014 with $544.0 million in unrestricted cash.

Spirit’s return on invested capital (before taxes and excluding special items) for the twelve months ended March 31, 2014 was 31.2 percent. See “Calculation for Return on Invested Capital” table below for more details.

“During the first quarter, our team did a great job serving our customers while overcoming the challenges caused by numerous severe winter storms and managing to the new crew duty and rest rules. Our solid operational and financial performance in the first quarter is a great start to the year and provides a firm foundation as we grow our business and bring our low fares to more people in more places,” said Ben Baldanza, Spirit’s Chief Executive Officer.

Revenue Performance

For the first quarter 2014, Spirit’s total operating revenue was $438.0 million, an increase of 18.2 percent compared to the first quarter 2013. The increase was primarily driven by our growth in flight volume. In the first quarter 2014, Spirit had 256 weather-related flight cancellations compared to 59 in the first quarter 2013, which negatively impacted revenue for the quarter.

Total revenue per available seat mile (“RASM”) for the first quarter 2014 was 11.57 cents, a decrease of 2.4 percent compared to the first quarter 2013. Average stage length for the first quarter 2014 increased 6.3 percent year over year, contributing an estimated 3.0 percentage point decline in RASM. In the first quarter 2014, RASM was further impacted by an estimated 1.5 percentage points due to the calendar shift of Easter occurring in April this year compared to in March last year.

Passenger flight segment (“PFS”) volume for the first quarter 2014 grew 17.9 percent year over year, and the Company’s load factor for the first quarter 2014 increased 1.8 points year over year. Total revenue per PFS for the first quarter 2014 increased 0.3 percent year over year to $134.20.

Cost Performance

Total operating expenses for the first quarter 2014 increased 17.9 percent year over year to $378.0 million on a capacity increase of 21.0 percent.

Spirit reported first quarter 2014 cost per available seat mile excluding special items and fuel (“Adjusted CASM ex-fuel”) of 6.06 cents, an increase of 0.3 percent compared to the same period last year. An increased number of scheduled maintenance events resulted in higher depreciation and amortization expense and higher maintenance, material and repairs expense per ASM. These expenses were partially offset by improved operational reliability, resulting in lower passenger re-accommodation expense (recorded within Other operating expense) per ASM. The Company also benefited from lower aircraft rent per ASM.

Selected Balance Sheet and Cash Flow Items

As of March 31, 2014, Spirit had $544.0 million in unrestricted cash and cash equivalents, no restricted cash, no debt on its balance sheet, and total shareholders’ equity of $809.4 million.

In the first quarter 2014, Spirit incurred capital expenditures of $4.1 million, paid $73.2 million in pre-delivery deposits for future deliveries of aircraft, net of refunds, and recorded an increase of $14.7 million in maintenance deposits, net of reimbursements.

Fleet

In the first quarter 2014, Spirit took delivery of two new A320 aircraft, ending the quarter with 56 aircraft in its fleet. During the quarter, the Company signed an amendment to its aircraft purchase agreement with Airbus; changes include the conversion of five (5) A320 ceo aircraft to A321 ceo aircraft, the conversion of five (5) A320 neo aircraft to A321 neo aircraft, the acceleration of one (1) A321 ceo aircraft from 2016 to 2015, and the deferral of two (2) A320 ceo aircraft from 2017 to 2018.

First Quarter 2014 and Other Current Highlights

• Added/announced new service between (service start date):

– Minneapolis-St. Paul and Houston (5/1/14)2
– Minneapolis-St. Paul and Baltimore/Washington (5/1/14)2
– Chicago O’Hare and Oakland/San Francisco (5/1/14)
– Minneapolis-St. Paul and Detroit (5/22/14)2
– Chicago O’Hare and Baltimore/Washington (5/22/14)2
– Chicago O’Hare and Portland, OR (5/22/14)2
– Fort Lauderdale and New Orleans (8/1/14)
– Houston and New Orleans (8/1/14)
– Houston and Atlanta (8/1/14)
– Kansas City and Chicago (8/7/14)
– Kansas City and Dallas/Fort Worth (8/7/14)
– Kansas City and Detroit (8/7/14)
– Kansas City and Las Vegas (8/7/14)
– Kansas City and Houston (8/8/14)
– Fort Lauderdale and Houston (9/3/14)
– Houston and San Diego (9/3/14)

• Maintained its commitment to offer low fares to its valued customers; average ticket revenue per passenger flight segment for the first quarter 2014 was $77.79 with total revenue per passenger flight segment of $134.20.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A319-132 N506NK (msn 2490) departs the runway at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL).

Spirit Airlines: AG Slide Show

Southwest Airlines Company reports record first quarter net profit of $126 million

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

Record first quarter net income, excluding special items*, of $126 million, or $.18 per diluted share, compared to first quarter 2013 net income, excluding special items, of $53 million, or $.07 per diluted share. This exceeded the First Call consensus estimate of $.16 per diluted share.

Record first quarter net income of $152 million, or $.22 per diluted share, which included $26 million (net) of favorable special items, compared to net income of $59 million, or $.08 per diluted share, in first quarter 2013, which included $6 million (net) of favorable special items.

Record first quarter operating income of $215 million; $242 million excluding special items.
Return on invested capital*, before taxes and excluding special items (ROIC), for the 12 months ended March 31, 2014, of 14.2 percent, as compared to 8.3 percent for the 12 months ended March 31, 2013.

Gary C. Kelly, Chairman of the Board, President, and Chief Executive Officer, stated, “I am delighted to report record first quarter earnings, which increased significantly year-over-year, despite the disruption caused by more than 7,500 of our flights canceled due to extreme weather conditions and the impact of the shift in timing of the Easter and Passover holidays. This outstanding performance was driven by record first quarter operating revenues of $4.2 billion, and a 1.2 percent year-over-year decline in total operating costs, excluding special items, driven largely by lower fuel prices and our ongoing fleet modernization. Our record first quarter operating income of $242 million, excluding special items, was very strong, especially considering an estimated $50 million unfavorable impact from winter storms. Operationally, our Employees did an outstanding job in difficult conditions taking care of our Customers, and I thank them again for their efforts.

“Our first quarter 2014 earnings performance is a superb start to the year and on plan to achieve a 15 percent pre-tax return on invested capital for the year, excluding special items. Second quarter 2014, benefiting from the Easter and Passover holidays, also is off to a great start, with strong bookings, favorable revenue trends, and stable fuel prices.

“Our balance sheet, liquidity, and cash flows remain strong. We are actively managing our debt and total invested capital, while making strategic investments that have already contributed significantly to our record profitability. We were pleased to return $371 million to Shareholders during first quarter 2014 through the payment of $56 million in dividends and the repurchase of $315 million in common stock. Since August 2011, we have returned $1.6 billion to our Shareholders through share repurchases and dividend payments.

“Our five strategic initiatives are on track and meeting or exceeding expectations. In January, we deployed our international reservation system and began selling Southwest’s inaugural international service to Aruba, The Bahamas, and Jamaica, scheduled to begin July 1, 2014. We quickly followed with selling Southwest service to Cancun and Los Cabos, scheduled to begin August 10, 2014. By the end of this year, we intend to fully convert AirTran’s seven international markets, along with its remaining domestic markets, to the Southwest route network. We have converted 21 of the 52 AirTran Boeing 737-700s to the Southwest Evolve configuration, and plan to convert the remaining 31 -700s this year (see below). This will complete the AirTran integration and retire the brand by the end of 2014.

“We have a significant amount of fleet activity planned this year, as we wind down the AirTran brand and continue to modernize our fleet, resulting in a larger than normal number of aircraft out of scheduled service. Accordingly, we expect relatively flat 2014 available seat miles, year-over-year.

“Our network development and optimization results, to date, have been excellent. We are excited about the opportunity to add new service to New York LaGuardia, Washington Reagan National, and Dallas Love Field this year, as well as to the international terminal under construction at Houston Hobby next year. Looking ahead to 2015, while we have not finalized our fleet and capacity plans, we have been managing to a baseline of 695 aircraft, which was our combined fleet at the time of the AirTran acquisition. We are planning year-over-year growth in our available seat miles derived from increased fleet utilization resulting from the completion of the AirTran integration and the increase in seats from the upgauging of our fleet. Of course, this will drive significant unit cost benefits.”

Financial Results and Outlook

The Company’s first quarter 2014 total operating revenues increased 2.0 percent, year-over-year, to $4.2 billion, despite an estimated $45 million reduction to revenues from weather-related cancellations. Operating unit revenues increased 3.1 percent, on a 1.1 percent decrease in available seat miles and a 2.6 percent increase in average seats per trip, all as compared to first quarter 2013. While the shift in the timing of the Easter and Passover holidays impacted March results, April bookings and revenue trends, thus far, are strong. Based on April’s trends and current bookings for the remainder of the second quarter, the Company expects another solid year-over-year increase in its second quarter 2014 operating unit revenues.

Total operating expenses in first quarter 2014 decreased 1.6 percent to $4.0 billion, as compared to first quarter 2013. First quarter 2014 total operating expenses included an estimated $5 million in net costs associated with winter storms. The Company incurred costs (before profitsharing and taxes) associated with the acquisition and integration of AirTran, which are special items, of $18 million during first quarter 2014, compared to $13 million in first quarter 2013. Cumulative costs associated with the acquisition and integration of AirTran, as of March 31, 2014, totaled $428 million (before profitsharing and taxes). The Company expects total acquisition and integration costs to be no more than $550 million (before profitsharing and taxes). Excluding special items in both periods, total operating expenses in first quarter 2014 decreased 1.2 percent to $3.9 billion, as compared to $4.0 billion in first quarter 2013.

First quarter 2014 profitsharing expense was $29 million, compared to $15 million in first quarter 2013. Profitsharing expense in first quarter 2014 was impacted by acquisition and integration costs incurred during that period. In addition, in accordance with the Company’s ProfitSharing Plan (the Plan), first quarter 2014 operating profit, as defined in the Plan, was reduced by a portion of the acquisition and integration costs incurred from April 1, 2011, through December 31, 2013, which will be amortized from January 1, 2014, through December 31, 2018.

First quarter 2014 economic fuel costs were $3.08 per gallon, including $.06 per gallon in favorable cash settlements from fuel derivative contracts, compared to $3.29 per gallon in first quarter 2013, including $.05 per gallon in unfavorable cash settlements from fuel derivative contracts. Based on the Company’s fuel derivative contracts and market prices as of April 21, 2014, second quarter 2014 economic fuel costs are expected to be comparable to second quarter 2013’s economic fuel costs of $3.06 per gallon. As of April 21, 2014, the fair market value of the Company’s hedge portfolio through 2017 was a net asset of approximately $252 million. Additional information regarding the Company’s fuel derivative contracts is included in the accompanying tables.

Excluding economic fuel and oil expense, profitsharing, and special items in both periods, first quarter 2014 operating costs increased 2.4 percent from first quarter 2013, and increased 3.5 percent on a unit basis. Based on current cost trends, the Company expects both second quarter 2014 and full year 2014 unit costs, excluding fuel and oil expense, profitsharing, and special items, to increase, year-over-year, in the two to three percent range.

Operating income for first quarter 2014 was $215 million, compared to $70 million in first quarter 2013. Excluding special items, operating income was $242 million in first quarter 2014, compared to $112 million in the same period last year.

Other income in first quarter 2014 was $29 million, compared to $24 million in first quarter 2013. The $5 million increase primarily resulted from $53 million in other gains recognized in first quarter 2014, compared to $46 million recognized in first quarter 2013. In both periods, these gains primarily resulted from unrealized mark-to-market net gains associated with a portion of the Company’s fuel hedging portfolio, which are special items. Excluding these special items, first quarter 2014 had $16 million in other losses, compared to $5 million in first quarter 2013, primarily attributable to the premium costs associated with the Company’s fuel derivative contracts. Second quarter 2014 premium costs related to fuel derivative contracts are currently estimated to be in the $15 million to $20 million range, compared to $12 million in second quarter 2013. Net interest expense in first quarter 2014 was $24 million, compared to $22 million in first quarter 2013.

Balance Sheet and Cash Flows

As of April 23, 2014, the Company had approximately $3.5 billion in cash and short-term investments, and a fully available unsecured revolving credit line of $1 billion. Net cash provided by operations during first quarter 2014 was $1.1 billion, and capital expenditures were $407 million, which included the payment for slots acquired at Washington’s Reagan National Airport. The Company repaid $46 million in debt and capital lease obligations during the first quarter 2014, and intends to repay approximately $500 million in debt and capital lease obligations during the remainder of 2014, which includes $35 million paid on April 1, 2014, associated with eight of the Company’s Fixed-rate Boeing 717 Aircraft Notes due in 2017.

During first quarter 2014, the Company generated free cash flow* of $712 million. The Company returned approximately $371 million to its Shareholders through the payment of $56 million in dividends and the repurchase of $315 million in common stock, or 12 million shares, under its share repurchase program, including $200 million under an accelerated share repurchase program with a third party financial institution. In first quarter, pursuant to the accelerated share repurchase program, the Company advanced $200 million to the financial institution and received approximately seven million shares of the Company’s common stock, representing an estimated 75 percent of the shares the Company expects to purchase under the accelerated share repurchase program. The specific number of shares that the Company ultimately will repurchase under the accelerated share repurchase program will be determined generally based on a discount to the volume-weighted average price per share of the Company’s common stock during a calculation period to be completed by May 9, 2014. At settlement, under certain circumstances, the third party financial institution may be required to deliver additional shares of common stock to the Company, or under certain circumstances, the Company may be required to deliver shares of its common stock or may elect to make a cash payment to the third party financial institution. Since August 2011, the Company has repurchased $1.48 billion in common stock, or 124 million shares, under its $1.5 billion share repurchase authorization.

Fleet

During first quarter 2014, the Company’s fleet was reduced by five to 676 aircraft at period end. This reflects the first quarter 2014 delivery of two new Boeing 737-800s and six pre-owned Boeing 737-700s, as well as the retirement of one Boeing 737-300. In addition, the Company removed 12 Boeing 717-200s from service during first quarter 2014 in preparation for transition. Additional information regarding the Company’s aircraft delivery schedule is included in the accompanying tables.

Southwest 737-700 Fleet Table

Read the analysis by Bloomberg Businessweek: CLICK HERE

Top Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. Southwest’s Boeing 737-7H4 N214WN (msn 32486) completes its final turn on the river approach into Washington’s Reagan National Airport (DCA).

Southwest Airlines: AG Slide Show

AirTran Airways: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems/AirlinersGallery.com. AirTran’s Boeing 737-7BD N315AT (msn 35788) completes its final approach to the runway at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

 

American Airlines Group reports a record first quarter net profit of $480 million

American Airlines Group (American Airlines and US Airways) (Dallas/Fort Worth) today reported its first quarter 2014 results.

First quarter 2014 net profit was a record $480 million. This represents a $777 million improvement versus the company’s combined first quarter 2013 net loss of $297 million.

Excluding net special credits, the company reported a record first quarter net profit of $402 million. This represents a $340 million year-over-year improvement versus the company’s combined net profit of $62 million excluding net special charges in the first quarter 2013.

First quarter 2014 pretax margin excluding net special credits was 4.1 percent, a 3.6 point year-over-year improvement.

The company ended the quarter with $10.6 billion in total cash and short-term investments. Since the close of the merger, the company has used more than $542 million of cash to reduce its diluted shares outstanding by approximately 20 million.

For the first quarter 2014, American Airlines Group reported a record GAAP net profit of $480 million. This compares to a net loss of $341 million in the first quarter 2013. The company’s GAAP results for the first quarter 2013 reflect AMR Corporation prior to the merger.

The company believes it is more meaningful to compare year-over-year results for American Airlines and US Airways on a combined basis, which is a non-GAAP formulation that combines the results for AMR Corporation and US Airways Group. Therefore, it includes the results of US Airways Group for the full period. See the accompanying notes in the Financial Tables section of this press release for further explanation of this presentation, including a reconciliation of GAAP to non-GAAP financial information.

First quarter 2014 net profit excluding net special credits was a record $402 million. This compares to a combined non-GAAP net profit of $62 million excluding net special charges for the same period in 2013. Excluding net special credits, first quarter 2014 diluted earnings per share was $0.54.

“We are very pleased to report a record profit in our first full quarter as a merged company,” said Doug Parker, CEO of American Airlines Group. “Our team of dedicated professionals did an excellent job of taking care of our customers despite particularly difficult weather conditions throughout the quarter. We are excited for the future and expect our synergies to build as we continue to integrate our operations.”

Merger Integration

Since closing the merger on December 9, 2013, the company has made significant progress in integrating American Airlines and US Airways. Key accomplishments:

Launched the world’s largest codeshare, offering customers improved access to the company’s global network by allowing them to book flights on both airlines’ networks

Provided reciprocal benefits for airport lounge and frequent flyer elite members, including priority check-in, waiving fees for checked bags, complimentary access to preferred seats, priority security lines, early boarding and priority baggage delivery

Enabled AAdvantage® and Dividend Miles® members to earn and redeem miles when traveling across either airline’s network

Joined operations at 58 airports, including Phoenix and Miami hubs

Moved US Airways into the oneworld alliance on March 31 and to the trans-Atlantic joint venture with American, British Airways, Iberia and Finnair on April 3

Aligned award travel options, checked baggage policies and inflight services for First and Business Class customers

Announced Sabre as the new Passenger Services System for the combined company

Closed the sale of the slot divestitures required by the U.S. Department of Justice at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA). In total, the company received $381 million in cash from the DCA sales and the sale of slots at New York’s LaGuardia (LGA) Airport, which closed in the fourth quarter 2013.

Revenue and Cost Comparisons

On a combined basis, total revenues in the first quarter were a record $10 billion, up 5.6 percent versus the first quarter 2013 on a 2.0 percent increase in total available seat miles (ASMs). Driven by a record yield of 17.03 cents, up 3.2 percent year-over-year, combined consolidated passenger revenue per ASM (PRASM) was also a record for the first quarter at 13.67 cents, up 2.9 percent versus the first quarter 2013.

Total combined operating expenses in the first quarter were $9.3 billion, down 0.3 percent over first quarter 2013. Combined first quarter mainline cost per available seat mile (CASM) was 13.50 cents, down 2.7 percent on a 2.7 percent increase in mainline ASMs versus first quarter 2013. This cost improvement was largely due to a 4.8 percent decrease in year-over-year mainline fuel prices. Excluding special charges, fuel and profit sharing, mainline CASM was up 4.0 percent compared to the first quarter 2013, at 8.96 cents. Regional CASM excluding special charges and fuel was 16.62 cents, up 5.0 percent on a 3.2 percent decrease in regional ASMs versus first quarter 2013.

Liquidity

As of March 31, 2014, American had approximately $10.6 billion in total cash and short-term investments, of which $947 million was restricted. The company also has an undrawn revolving credit facility of $1.0 billion. Approximately $750 million of the company’s unrestricted cash balance was held in Venezuelan bolivars, valued at the weighted average applicable exchange rate of 6.32 bolivars to the dollar. This includes approximately $94 million valued at 4.3 bolivars, approximately $611 million valued at 6.3 bolivars and approximately $45 million valued at 10.7 bolivars, with the rate depending on the date the company submitted its repatriation request to the Venezuelan government.

In the first quarter of 2014, the Venezuelan government announced that a newly-implemented system (SICAD I) will determine the exchange rate (which fluctuates as determined by weekly auctions and at March 31, 2014 was 10.7 bolivars to the dollar) for repatriation of cash proceeds from ticket sales after January 1, 2014, and introduced new procedures for approval of repatriation of local currency. The company is continuing to work with Venezuelan authorities regarding the timing and exchange rate applicable to the repatriation of funds held in local currency. The company is monitoring this situation closely and continues to evaluate its holdings of Venezuelan bolivars for potential impairment.

Since the merger, the company paid $542 million in tax withholdings for employees in lieu of issuing shares of common stock as compensation as permitted under the Plan of Reorganization, thereby reducing the number of shares expected to be issued under the Plan by approximately 20 million. Additionally, the company has elected to utilize the cash settlement feature for the remaining $22 million principal amount of US Airways Group 7.25% convertible notes due May 15, 2014, which will further reduce diluted shares by approximately 4 million shares.

Special Items

In the first quarter, the company recognized a combined total of $78 million in net special credits, including:

$137 million in net special credits consisting primarily of the gain on the sale of slots at Reagan National Airport offset in part by integration and merger-related expenses

$47 million in non-operating special charges due primarily to non-cash interest accretion on bankruptcy settlement obligations

$8 million in non-cash deferred income tax provision related to certain indefinite-lived intangible assets

$4 million in regional non-operating charges

Additional Integration Related Developments

Distributed $11 million to employees for baggage handling and on-time performance in the month of January; this distribution of $100 per employee is part of the company’s Triple Play program which measures on-time arrivals and baggage performance as reported in the DOT’s Air Travel Consumer Report (ATCR)

Conducted first joint Captain Leadership Training with newly promoted captains from both airlines

On April 9, Piedmont flight attendants ratified a new five-year Collective Bargaining Agreement
Opened a new Admirals Club lounge at the company’s Philadelphia (PHL) hub

Fleet/Network Developments

As part of its plan to modernize its fleet by replacing older aircraft with newer, more fuel-efficient aircraft, the company inducted 12 new Airbus A321 aircraft into service between New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), and JFK and San Francisco International Airport (SFO). American is now the only U.S. carrier to offer three classes of service between these key markets.

The company also took delivery of one Airbus A330-200 aircraft, five Boeing 737-800 aircraft and one Boeing 777-300 aircraft during the first quarter.

Revealed new Boeing 767-300 and 777-200ER cabin retrofits, which feature lie-flat seats with direct aisle access in Business Class

In April 2014, the company exercised its option to purchase (and thus terminated its existing lease financing arrangements) for 62 Airbus A320 family aircraft scheduled to be delivered between first quarter 2015 and third quarter 2017. In connection with this decision, the company also exercised its right to convert firm orders for 30 Airbus A320 family NEO aircraft (scheduled to be delivered in 2021 and 2022) to options to acquire such aircraft.

Top Copyright Photo: Rolf Wallner/AirlinersGallery.com. American Airlines’ Boeing 767-323 ER N346AN (msn 33085) taxies at Zurich.

American Airlines: AG Slide Show

US Airways: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. US Airways is now planning to operate the last Boeing 737 revenue flight on August 18 at the Charlotte hub. Boeing 737-4B7 N450UW (msn 24933) arrives back at CLT.

 

United Airlines reports a first quarter net loss of $489 million

United Airlines (Chicago) today reported a first quarter 2014 net loss of $489 million, or $1.33 per share, excluding $120 million of special items. Including special items, UAL reported a first quarter 2014 net loss of $609 million, or $1.66 per share.

Historic severe weather increased United’s first quarter loss by approximately $200 million.

United’s consolidated passenger revenue per available seat mile (PRASM) decreased 2.0 percent in the first quarter of 2014 compared to the first quarter of 2013. Weather-related cancellations reduced first quarter 2014 consolidated PRASM by approximately 1.5 percentage points.

First quarter 2014 consolidated unit costs (CASM) increased 1.0 percent year-over-year. First-quarter 2014 consolidated CASM, excluding special charges, third-party business expenses, fuel and profit sharing, increased 3.1 percent year-over-year on a consolidated capacity reduction of 0.3 percent.

UAL ended the first quarter with $6.0 billion in unrestricted liquidity.

“This quarter’s financial performance is well below what we can and should achieve. We are taking the appropriate steps with our operations, network, service and product to deliver significantly better financial results,” said Jeff Smisek, UAL’s chairman, president and chief executive officer. “The entire United team is sharply focused on accomplishing the goals we have laid out for long-term financial success.”

First Quarter Revenue and Capacity

For the first quarter of 2014, total revenue was $8.7 billion, a decrease of 0.3 percent year-over-year. First-quarter consolidated passenger revenue decreased 2.3 percent to $7.4 billion, compared to the same period in 2013. Ancillary revenue per passenger in the first quarter increased 7.6 percent year-over-year to more than $21 per passenger. First-quarter cargo revenue decreased 7.9 percent versus the first quarter of 2013 to $209 million. Other revenue in the first quarter increased 18.0 percent year-over-year to $1.1 billion, in large part due to an agreement to sell jet fuel to a third party.

Consolidated revenue passenger miles and consolidated available seat miles each decreased 0.3 percent year-over-year for the first quarter, driven largely by adverse weather, resulting in a first quarter consolidated load factor of 81.1 percent.

First quarter 2014 consolidated PRASM and consolidated yield each decreased 2.0 percent compared to the first quarter of 2013.

“We recognize that we have lagged on revenue and are taking the necessary actions to remedy that,” said Jim Compton, UAL’s vice chairman and chief revenue officer. “Our employees pulled together during the unprecedented extreme winter weather that marked this quarter. We appreciate their hard work, which resulted in higher customer satisfaction scores than for the same period last year.”

First Quarter Costs

Total operating expenses increased $60 million, or 0.7 percent, in the first quarter versus the same period in 2013. Excluding special charges, first-quarter total operating expenses increased $100 million, or 1.1 percent, year-over-year.

First quarter consolidated CASM increased 1.0 percent year-over-year. First quarter consolidated CASM, excluding special charges, third-party business expense, fuel and profit sharing, increased 3.1 percent compared to the first quarter of 2013. Third-party business expense was $193 million in the first quarter of 2014.

“We are making good progress in reducing costs and delivering sustainable efficiencies, all while improving the product for our customers,” said John Rainey, UAL’s executive vice president and chief financial officer. “While we are not pleased with our first-quarter financial results, we are building a strong foundation that will result in improved financial performance.”

Liquidity and Cash Flow

UAL ended the first quarter with $6.0 billion in unrestricted liquidity, including $1.0 billion of undrawn commitments under a revolving credit facility. The company generated $694 million of operating cash flow in the first quarter. During the first quarter, the company had gross capital expenditures of $737 million, excluding fully reimbursable projects. The company made debt and capital lease principal payments of $637 million in the first quarter.

Why is United Airlines losing money?

Read the analysis by Bloomberg Businessweek: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Rolf Wallner/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 767-424 ER N76064 (msn 29459) touches down at Zurich.

United Airlines (current): AG Slide Show