Good evening everyone. In this week’s chokingly long issue, we take our magnifying glass to the recent earnings results reported by Southwest Airlines, SkyWest, Allegiant, Republic Holdings, and Pinnacle. Yes, a rather strange mix of subjects this week.
In the case of Southwest Airlines, this quarter’s results were a lot noisier than expected, as a result of the way the airline is reporting its numbers –re: merger with AirTran. Revenues were also not as good as had been expected. As one analyst wondered, did the airline push fares higher too hard, too fast in the spring? Whatever — the airline came in under expectations.
The airline was also one of the few that reported that its “business traveler” revenues showed a softening during the quarter. This was in contrast to what some other airlines reported.
As for the three regional airlines — it continues to be a period of transition for all three. SkyWest finally admitted what we have thought for six years — the merger with Atlantic Southeast has never really gone as well as they had anticipated. Now, they are trying to layer the ExpressJet merger on top of ASA.
With Pinnacle, the airline has a totally new executive team to work out the details of merging three airlines together. ‘
Then there is Republic. The fixed fee basis continues to make money. Just not as much as it used to make because of shrinking margins. Then there is Frontier Airlines. The airline lost a ton of money during the quarter. The restructuring continues.
Finally — Allegiant Travel also reported earnings last week. Again — another airline that finds itself in a period of transition. New aircraft types, sharp reductions in capacity as a result of higher fuel prices, new engine overhauling program, ETOPS certification fun, seating modifications to all existing aircraft — a lot of stuff going on out in Las Vegas.
It was a horrible week for airline stocks last week — but I agree with a couple of analysts who put out notes Monday and Tuesday. This is a great time to load up on airline stocks. If they are the right ones. Oil has tanked, demand still looks good, fare prices are still good, the airlines got a little revenue bump as a result of the FAA snafu, and well, yeah, airline stock prices have been, for the most part, beaten to a pulp.
We look at break-even load factors and operating margins for the second quarter. Question of the week — which airline finished dead last in both important metrics?
All of this — and more in a 160 plus page issue this week. Subscribers can access this week’s issue here.