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Hawaiian Holdings (HA) Arm Posts Solid November Traffic

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Hawaiian Holdings’ (HA - Free Report) wholly owned subsidiary, Hawaiian Airlines, reported traffic figures for November. The metric (measured in Revenue Passenger Miles or RPMs) increased 6.3% to around 1.33 billion in November.

Available Seat Miles (ASMs) also climbed 6.2% to 1.55 billion in the month. Load factor (percentage of seats filled by passengers) inched up 10 basis points (bps) to 85.9% in November as traffic growth outweighed capacity expansion.

On a year-to-date basis, Hawaiian Airlines witnessed a 5.5% rise in RPMs to 14.93 billion. Also, ASMs rose 3.4% to 17.36 billion. As a result, the load factor increased 170 bps to 86%. Additionally, passenger count in the first 11 months of 2017 rose 3.8% to 10.50 billion.

Revised Q4 & Full-Year Guidance

The company has raised its fourth-quarter and full-year expectations for operating revenues per ASM (RASM) owing to impressive close-in bookings and increased cargo revenues compared with the figures of same period last year and 2016.

The carrier now expects fourth-quarter RASM to improve between 1.5% and 3.5%, up from the previous view of down 1% to up 2%. For 2017, it anticipates the metric to rise 5.5-6.5% year over year. Prior guidance had called for growth of 5-6% in the metric.

The company has also increased forecast for fourth-quarter economic fuel cost per gallon. The airline predicts the metric to rise in the range of $1.80-$1.90. Previous view was in the $1.75-$1.85 band.

Further, the company said at its investor day presentation that it expects 2018 ASMs to grow in the range of 5-8%.

New Share Repurchase Program

The company has also announced a new share repurchase program worth $100 million through Dec 31, 2019. This is an add-on to the existing $100 million authorization. The company has repurchased $90.5 million or 2.27 million shares so far this year under the existing stock repurchase authorization.

Zacks Rank & Key Picks

Hawaiian Holdings carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in the airline space are Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligentes S.A. (GOL - Free Report) , International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (ICAGY - Free Report) and Deutsche Lufthansa AG . While Gol Linhas and International Consolidated Airlines sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Deutsche Lufthansa carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Shares of Gol Linhas, International Consolidated Airlines and Deutsche Lufthansa have surged more than 200%, 58% and 100%, respectively, in a year.

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