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Allegiant's (ALGT) July Traffic Rises, Load Factor Falls

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Allegiant Travel Company (ALGT - Free Report) reported mixed traffic numbers for July. Traffic for the total system (including scheduled service and fixed fee contract), measured in revenue passenger miles (RPMs), increased 11.3% on a year-over-year basis to 1.31 billion. System capacity, calculated in available seat miles (ASMs), expanded 12.1% to 1.51 billion.

With capacity expansion outweighing traffic growth, load factor (percentage of seats filled with passengers) contracted 60 basis points year over year to 86.8%.

Allegiant’s passenger count rose 13.4% in the month. While its system-wide average fuel cost per gallon was approximately $2.39.

This Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell) company recently released second-quarter earnings wherein both the top and the bottom line surpassed estimates. Moreover, the metrics improved on a year-over-year basis. High passenger revenues drove the top line despite delivery delays in May. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

High fuel costs, however, limited bottom-line growth in the reported quarter. Notably, fuel prices surged 39.2% to $2.38 during the period. In fact, such high expenses are likely to hit the company’s bottom line for the full year as well. Allegiant has raised its fuel cost view for 2018 to $2.35 per gallon from $2.20, expected earlier. Moreover, the company has trimmed its earnings per share expectation for the current year on the same ground. It now anticipates earnings per share in the band of $9-$10 for 2018, lower than the previous guidance of $10-$12.

Key airline players, namely American Airlines Group Inc. (AAL - Free Report) , Southwest Airlines Co. (LUV - Free Report) and Alaska Air Group, Inc. (ALK - Free Report) also recently posted their second-quarter financial numbers. Each of the carriers beat on earnings but missed on revenues.

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