Monthly Archives: October 2007

PBB Posting Update

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Hi guys. The beast for this week is finished, but I need some rested eyes to give this issue a final once over.  Yep, another week, another long earnings-related issue of PlaneBusiness Banter coming down the chute. Woo Hoo!

Look for this week’s issue to be posted tomorrow. I’ll post a note here as soon as it is good to go.

Talk to you then!

Frontier Airlines Reports In: Verdict is Good

I’m going to post one more thing here today, and then you probably won’t see too much more of me as I’ve got to wrap up another mega issue of PlaneBusiness Banter for this week. Yes, it’s an earnings week. That means a late Friday posting. Just a nice side benefit of posting a publication electronically. Or, as the editor of Texas Monthly said in an email to both subscribers and website visitors only this week, “We’re no longer wedded to a traditional publishing schedule. The Internet — and the Internet user — is a beast that needs to be fed constantly, some days with multimedia extensions of stories in the current [hard copy] issue, other days with a peek at what’s coming next, and every day with blog posts.”


So speaking of feeding you guys constantly, how did the folks at Frontier do last quarter?

Well, let me put it this way. Between this quarter and the return of Sean Menke to the fold, I think we may just have to reconsider the airline’s position on our Titanic Watch. Maybe. More on that next week in PBB.

The airline today reported consolidated net income of $17.3 million, or $0.39, for the company’s second fiscal quarter, which ended Sept. 30. Excluding special items, the airline came in with a profit of $0.45.


This compares favorably to last year, when the airline posted net income of $0.5 million, or $0.01.

JP Morgan Airline Wizard Jamie Baker said this morning in a note, “Frontier’s 2Q (Sep) ex-item profit of $0.45 exceeded our $0.31 forecast and consensus $0.19, in one of this season’s true upside surprises. However, a near-zero tax-rate contributed the upside relative to our Street-high forecast. Resulting 6.9% EBIT margin Frontier’s best in nearly four years, driven by 5.1% RASM and modest 3.4% rise in ex-fuel CASM. Company cites continued demand strength going forward (hardly unexpected), and a December quarter loss below last year’s ($0.41). No change to our ($0.24), which assumes a continuation of Frontier’s newfound RASM momentum.”

So, there you have it. Lower taxes certainly helped, but all in all, still a good quarter for the folks with the animals on their tails.

Ticker: (Nasdaq:FRNT)

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What Is It With These Football Games?

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Okay, so who else watched that football game last night? (Forget the World Series. Sorry but it’s the friggin’ end of October people.)

Obviously, as an LSU fan, you know who I was rooting for — Virginia Tech. I mean, after all, how can the polls continue to have such a lightweight as Boston College in the number two position? Florida, Auburn, I could rattle off any number of teams that could beat BC.

So needless to say I was one happy camper as, with about 2 minutes to go, Virginia Tech seemed to have the game in the bag — 10-zip — as BC hadn’t been able to score all game.

So who wins the game? Yep. BC.

I’m still not sure if the comeback was better than LSU’s touchdown with one second left that gave them the win last week over Auburn. But, well, it was impressive. Matt Ryan, BC quarterback, showed some major moxie there in the last 2 minutes.


This post reminds me. I need to start a new category for general musings, as try as I might, I can’t figure out any way to throw in a reference to an airplane in this one.

Prey Tell, What About Oil? New Record Price of $90.60 Set

As all good observers of the energy markets know, it does not necessarily follow that when crude prices rise, jet fuel prices do the same.

But today, sorry to say, this is the case.

We just hit a new all-time high for crude oil, as prices have surpassed the $90 a barrel mark. The price is bouncing around — it has been as high as $90.60, then back down to $90.10.

Jet Fuel: Could Be a Historic Day Today

Don’t look now, but jet fuel is currently flirting with an all-time record high in trading today.

Yes, this is having a very negative effect on airline shares.

Last time I looked, New York harbor jet fuel had risen to $2.491 a gallon. If it stays at this level, or goes higher, we’ll set a new record. The previous high for New York harbor jet was $2.487, which was set on Sept. 29, 2005.

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Another Day, Another Big Day of Airline Earnings: US Airways, Alaska and Midwest



Yet another big day for airline earnings today. One thing is for sure. This quarter has been one of the heavily “front-loaded” variety, with a big onslaught of results all within the first 2 weeks.

Tomorrow Frontier will join the crowd, while Northwest will join the earnings parade next Monday.

For PlaneBusiness Banter subscribers, look for in-depth coverage of US Airways, Republic, United, ExpressJet, and JetBlue in this week’s issue, which will be posted tomorrow. We’ll tackle Alaska and Midwest with the group next week. But as always, subscribers can access our PlaneBusiness Earnings Summaries for all airlines on a current basis.

As for now — let’s take a quick look at the results from today. Then I am off to work on those in-depth earnings call reports for this week’s issue of PBB.

First up is US Airways. The airline reported earnings of $177 million or 1.87. Excluding special items, the airline posted net income of $185 million or $1.96. Both of these compared favorably to last year, when the airline reported a net loss of $78 million or $0.88. Excluding items, the airline posted a profit of $101 million or $1.09.

The $1.96 profit results came in easily above the analyst consensus forecast figure of $1.77 profit for the quarter.

For Midwest, the news was not nearly as good, as the airline posted a loss for the quarter.

The airline posted a net loss for the third quarter of $3.9 million, or $0.15, compared with net income of $1.7 million, or $0.09 cents per share, for the same period the year before.

The most glaring tidbit that caught our eye here? The airline’s operating expenses were up a whopping 24%.

For the nine months ending Sept. 30, the airline has only managed to post a profit of $9 million, or $0.35 cents per share, compared with net income of $1.8 million, or $0.09 cents per share, for the same period a year ago. Meanwhile, operating revenue increased almost 14% to $562.9 million from $496.2 million.

Finally, there is Alaska Air Group. The airline said today that it posted net profit of $82.8 million, or $2.11, up from $77.9 million, or $1.93 a share in the same period last year.

Earnings were adjusted to include mark-to-market fuel hedge accounting.

In last year’s third-quarter, the company recorded a loss of $17.4 million, or $0.44 cents a share, as a result of charges related to the buyout of five MD-80 leases and a voluntary severance program in connection with a new labor contract.

Total operating revenue for the quarter rose to $995.1 million from $935.7 million last year and operating revenue per available seat mile (ASM) increased 1.5% while operating costs per ASM, excluding fuel and special items, decreased 1.1% from last year.

Third-quarter results topped the mean estimates of analysts polled by Thomson Financial for earnings of $1.92 a share and revenue of $988 million.

Nice quarter for the folks up in Seattle.


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