The past week saw key U.S. carriers like JetBlue Airways (JBLU - Free Report) and Hawaiian Holdings (HA - Free Report) announcing their second-quarter 2017 numbers. While JetBlue outperformed with respect to both earnings and revenues, Hawaiian Holdings reported mixed results. The Honolulu County, HI based carrier reported better-than-expected earnings but lower-than-expected revenues. Additionally, European low-cost carrier Ryanair Holdings plc (RYAAY - Free Report) reported impressive results for the first quarter of fiscal 2018 (ended Jun 30, 2017).
On the non-earnings front, the ban on carrying laptops in U.S. bound planes from the Middle East has reportedly been lifted. Moreover, three U.S. carriers — American Airlines Group (AAL - Free Report) , Frontier Airlines and Delta Air Lines (DAL - Free Report) — have been heavily fined by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) for flouting rules pertaining to consumer protection.
(Read the last Airline Stock Roundup for Jul 19, 2017).
Recap of the Past Week’s Most Important Stories
1. JetBlue Airways’ second-quarter 2017 earnings (excluding special items) of 64 cents per share beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 8 cents. Moreover, quarterly earnings improved 20.75% from the year-ago figure. Results were aided by higher revenues. Passenger revenue per available seat mile (PRASM: a key measure of unit revenue) increased 5.9, while operating revenue per available seat mile (RASM) climbed 7% (read more: JetBlue Airways Tops Q2 Earnings & Revenue Estimates).
2. Hawaiian Holdings’ second-quarter adjusted earnings of $1.58 per share beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.53. Quarterly revenues of $675 million, however, fell short of the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $677 million. Both earnings and revenues increased on a year-over-year basis.
Operating revenue per available seat mile in the quarter climbed 9.2% year over year. The metric is projected to grow 4.5–7.5% in the third quarter of 2017. Capacity is projected to grow 0.5%–2.5%. CASM, excluding fuel, is also projected to rise significantly for the ongoing quarter primarily due to the higher labor costs. Fuel cost per gallon (economic) is projected in the band of $1.5–$1.6 for the third quarter. The metric is expected in the band of $1.53 to $1.63 for full-year 2017.
3. Ryanair Holdings reported financial and operating numbers with profit for the first quarter of fiscal 2018 up 55% year over year at €397 million on a rise in average airfares. Results got a boost from the timing of Easter. The top line expanded 13% to €1,910 million on the back of a 12% rise in traffic to 35 million. Lower costs aided the bottom line. Moreover, load factor increased 200 basis points to 96%.
The customer friendly “Always Getting Better (AGB)” program aided results. Average fares are expected to decline approximately 5% and 8% in the first and second halves of fiscal 2018, respectively. Net profit for fiscal 2018 is still expected in the band of €1.4–€1.45 billion.
Ryanair sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
4. With the concerned airports complying with the directive of the Department of Homeland Security to upgrade security, the ban on carrying laptops in the cabins of planes to the U.S. from the Middle East has been done away with. The ban was imposed by the U.S. in March to combat terrorism and covered 10 airports in seven Middle Eastern nations and Turkey.
5. Three U.S.-based carriers have been reportedly fined a total of $850,000 for violating rules on consumer protection. The DOT fined Frontier Airlines $400,000 for flouting rules pertaining to oversales and disability. American Airlines was penalized to the tune of $250,000 as it failed to make timely refunds to passengers. Atlanta, GA-based Delta was fined $200,000 by the agency for revealing inaccurate baggage-related reports.
The following table shows the price movement of the major airline players over the past week and during the last six months.
Last 6 months
The table above shows that all airline stocks traded in the red over the past week resulting in the NYSE ARCA Airline Index declining 3.2% to $115.67 in the period. Shares of United Continental depreciated the most (9.5%). Over the course of six months, the NYSE ARCA Airline Index appreciated 3.9% on the back of huge gains (52.5%) for GOL Linhas.
What's Next in the Airline Space?
The coming week will be flooded with second-quarter earnings reports from major players in the airline sector like American Airlines, Southwest Airlines (LUV - Free Report) and Spirit Airlines (SAVE - Free Report) .
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