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Southwest Airlines (LUV) July Traffic Rises, View Intact

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Low-cost carrier Southwest Airlines Co. (LUV - Free Report) posted a 6% rise in traffic (measured in Revenue Passenger Miles or RPMs) to around 12.4 billion in July from 11.7 billion a year ago. Also, Available Seat Miles (ASMs) increased 5.5% to 14.2 billion from 13.4 billion in the same month last year.  Load factor (the percentage of seats filled by passengers) too improved 40 basis points (bps) to 87.3% in July as traffic growth outpaced capacity expansion.

On a year-to-date basis, Southwest Airlines witnessed a 4.5% rise in RPMs to 76.1 billion. Also, ASMs rose 4.7% to 91.0 billion. Hence, the load factor decreased 10 bps to 83.6%. Additionally, passenger count in the first seven months of 2017 rose 4.5% to 91.7 billion from 87.7 billion during the same period in 2016.

The company continues to expect third-quarter 2017 operating revenue per ASM (RASM) growth of around 1%.

This Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) recently reported second-quarter 2017 financial numbers. The company reported better-than-expected earnings and revenues in the said quarter. The carrier’s earnings per share (on an adjusted basis) of $1.24 beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.20. Earnings also improved 4.20% on a year-over-year basis. Operating revenues of $5,744 million were marginally above the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $5733.2 million. Revenues too rose 6.69% year over year. 

You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Other airline heavyweights like American Airlines Group (AAL - Free Report) , Spirit Airlines (SAVE - Free Report) and Alaska Air Group (ALK - Free Report) have also recently reported second-quarter 2017 earnings numbers. Both American Airlines and Alaska Air Group surpassed estimates in their results. However, Spirit Airlines reported better-than-expected earnings but lower-than-expected revenues in the quarter.

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