Earnings Madness: Thursday Update

Today we had three airlines report earnings — US Airways, AirTran and Midwest Airlines.

Our thoughts after looking at the numbers, but not listening to earnings calls:


US Airways, not surprisingly, posted strong numbers for the quarter. Easily the best performance by a quasi-used-to-be-legacy-now hybrid airline. You get the point. No matter how you want to classify the new animal, the numbers were good.

The airline posted an 11.3% margin — which gives it the second largest operating margin for the quarter — right behind Southwest. And we all know Southwest posted exceptional second quarter results last week. So this is certainly not a bad place for US Airways to be.

Consensus here was for the airline to post profits of about $3.24/share. The airline posted profits of $315 million, or $3.35, excluding special items. Including items, the airline posted net profits of $305 million or $3.25 a share.

On a standalone basis, US Airways reported a profit of $246 million versus a loss of $44 million a year ago. As for America West, on a standalone basis, it reported a profit of $68 million versus a loss of $2 million for the same period last year.

AirTran also reported good numbers for the second quarter. The airline posted net earnings of $32 million or $0.33, slightly ahead of the consensus number of $0.28.

Operating margin here came in at a very strong 10.3% — which puts AirTran in third place for the quarter, behind Southwest and US Airways. Nice performance here.

Finally, Midwest Airlines also reported in Thursday morning. Three airlines, three profits. Midwest reported profits of $8.8 million, or $0.39. While these results were not as strong as the ones reported by US Airways or AirTran, they certainly beat a loss, which is what Midwest reported for the second quarter of 2005. Furthermore, the airline posted an impressive 19.8% PRASM increase while CASM excluding fuel was down 7%. A very nice combination.