LATAM Airlines Group S.A. (LTM - Free Report) posted mixed traffic numbers for December 2018. In spite of traffic increasing substantially on strong demand for air travel, load factor declined as traffic growth was outweighed by capacity expansion.
Consolidated traffic (measured in revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) came in at 10.58 billion, up 5.5% from the year-ago figure. On a year-over-year basis, consolidated capacity (or available seat miles/ASMs) rose 6.2% to 12.68 billion.
However, consolidated load factor (percentage of seats filled by passengers) contracted 60 basis points (bps) to 83.5%. Also, passenger count rose 4.9% to 6.17 million.
At the end of 2018, LATAM Airlines generated RPKs of 119.08 billion (up 2.9% year over year) and ASMs of 143.26 billion (up 5% year over year). Load factor registered a fall of 170 bps year over year to 83.1%.
Shares of the company have declined 25% in a year’s time due to headwinds like high costs and depreciation of the Brazilian Real and Argentinian Peso.
We expect the aforesaid factors to weigh on its fourth-quarter 2018 results as well.
Zacks Rank & Key Picks
LATAM Airlines 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 Spirit Airlines, Inc. (SAVE - Free Report) , each flaunting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
Shares of Azul and Spirit Airlines have rallied more than 12% and 27%, respectively, in a year’s time. Meanwhile, Allegiant boasts an impressive earnings surprise history, having trumped the Zacks Consensus Estimate in three of the last four quarters, the average beat being 18.7%.
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