Alaska Air Group (ALK - Free Report) reported impressive traffic figures for January 2019. Load factor (percentage of seats filled with passengers) improved as traffic growth exceeded capacity expansion. Consolidated traffic, measured in revenue passenger miles (RPMs), also increased 2.5% year over year to 4 billion.
On a year-over-year basis, consolidated capacity (or available seat miles/ASMs) inched up 0.9% to 5.28 billion. As a result, consolidated load factor increased130 basis points year over year to 77.1%
Notably, the impressive traffic report comes close on the heels of Alaska Air Group’s outperformance in the fourth quarter of 2018. Results were disclosed on Jan 24. Similar to the January report, the carrier’s fourth-quarter results were aided by high passenger revenues owing to strong demand for air travel. Passenger revenues, accounting for a bulk (92.4%) of the top line, were up 6% on a year-over-year basis in the final quarter of 2018.
The earnings report apart, Alaska Air Group raised its quarterly dividend by 9% to 35 cents per share (annualized $1.40 per share). The first installment of the new dividend will be paid on Mar 7, 2019, to its shareholders of record as of Feb 19. This marks the company’s sixth dividend hike since its initiation of quarterly dividends in 2013.
Following the upbeat earnings report and the dividend hike, shares of Alaska Air Group have gained 3.8% in the past 30 days.
One-Month Price Performance
Zacks Rank & Other Key Picks
Alaska Air currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). A few other top-ranked airline stocks are SkyWest (SKYW - Free Report) , Spirit Airlines (SAVE - Free Report) and American Airlines (AAL - Free Report) . While SkyWest sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Spirit and American Airlines carry a Zacks Rank #2. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
Shares of SkyWest, Spirit and American Airlines have gained 17.4%, 4.1% and 12.9%, respectively, in a month’s time.
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