Spirit Airlines’ ( SAVE Quick Quote SAVE - Free Report) first-quarter 2021 loss (excluding $1.33 from non-recurring items) of $2.48 per share was narrower than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of $2.63 but wider than the year-ago loss of 86 cents.
Additionally, operating revenues of $461.3 million not only declined 40.2% year over year but also fell short of the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $465.4. The year-over-year fall in the top line was due to the coronavirus-led air-travel demand woes. Passenger revenues, which contributed 97.6% to the top line, plummeted 40.2% year over year. Additionally, revenues from other sources tanked 37.6%.
Load factor (% of seats filled by passengers) declined 0.7 percentage points to 72.1% as traffic contraction (27.7%) was more than the capacity reduction (26.9%). Total operating revenue per available seat miles decreased 18.2% to 5.78 cents in the reported quarter. Average yield fell 17.2% to 8.03 cents.
Adjusted operating expenses decreased 11.5% to $733.5 million, mainly on reduced flight volume. Average fuel cost per gallon in the reported quarter slipped 2.2% year over year to $1.77. Fuel gallons consumed plunged 31.7%. Nonetheless, adjusted cost per available seat miles (CASM) excluding fuel climbed 31.2% in the reported quarter due to capacity cut.
Spirit, currently carrying a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold), ended the quarter with unrestricted cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments worth $1.9 billion. Capital expenditures for the March quarter were $92 million. The carrier expects second-quarter 2021 capacity to shrink 5.5% from the levels achieved in second-quarter 2019. Fuel cost per gallon and the effective tax rate in the June quarter are anticipated to be $1.95 and 22%, respectively. Adjusted EBITDA margin for the same period is projected between 0% and -5%.
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Within the broader
Transportation sector, Delta Air Lines ( DAL Quick Quote DAL - Free Report) , J.B. Hunt Transport Services ( JBHT Quick Quote JBHT - Free Report) and Kansas City Southern ( KSU Quick Quote KSU - Free Report) recently reported first-quarter 2021 results.
Delta incurred a loss (excluding $1.70 from non-recurring items) of $3.55 per share, wider than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of $3.08. However, total revenues of $4,150 million topped the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $3,821.3 million.
J.B. Hunt deli
vered earnings of $1.37 per share, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.18. Total operating revenues of $2,618.1 million also surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2,486.9 million.
Kansas City Southern reported earnings (excluding 23 cents from non-recurring items) of $1.91 per share. The bottom line missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2 per share. Moreover, quarterly revenues of $706 million lagged the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $714.3 million
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