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SkyWest (SKYW) December Block Hours & Load Factor Decline

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SkyWest, Inc. (SKYW - Free Report) reported a year-over-year decline of 2.7% (4,100) in block hours (a measure of aircraft utilization) to 147,300 in December 2018.

The regional carrier, focused on streamlining operations, stated that the fall in the metric was in sync with fleet transition plans. The company aims to reduce the number of 50-seat jets from its fleet and add new E175 aircraft.

Notably, SkyWest’s dual class aircraft (E175, CRJ900 and CRJ700) accounted for approximately 55.4% of the carrier’s total block-hour production in December compared with approximately 52.7% a year ago. In terms of airlines, SkyWest and Express Jet Airlines contributed 82.6% and 17.4% of the carrier’s total block-hour production last month, respectively.

However, load factor (percentage of seats filled with passengers) contracted 290 basis points to 78%. Also, number of departures and passenger count dropped 4.7% each in the month. This St. George, UT-based company reported 4.5% decrease in block hours at the end of 2018.

Zacks Rank & Key Picks

SkyWest carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in the same space are Azul SA (AZUL - Free Report) , Allegiant Travel Company (ALGT - Free Report) and JetBlue Airways Corporation (JBLU - Free Report) , each flaunting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

All the above stocks have   stellar earnings surprise history. While Azul topped the Zacks Consensus Estimate in each of the last four reported quarters, Allegiant and JetBlue surpassed estimates thrice.

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