SkyWest (SKYW - Free Report) delivered better-than-expected results in the third quarter of 2019. The company’s earnings of $1.79 per share surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.73. Also, the bottom line improved 14% on a year-over-year basis. Results benefited from the company’s fleet transition initiatives. Notably, SkyWest added 13 E175 aircraft and 11 CRJ900 aircraft to its fleet since the third quarter of 2018.
Quarterly revenues came in at $760.3 million, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $754.7 million. However, the top line declined 8.3% year over year due to the sale of ExpressJet Airlines in January 2019.
SkyWest’s efforts to modernize its fleet and streamline operations are very impressive. The company aims to reduce the 50-seat jets from its fleet and add E175 aircraft. This St. George, UT-based carrier reported a 5.8% increase in block hours (a measure of aircraft utilization) during the quarter under review.
Operating expenses declined 11.1% to $614 million owing to the sale of ExpressJet Airlines. Expenses on salaries, wages and benefits decreased 16.6% to $251.41 million.
The company, carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), exited the reported quarter with cash and marketable securities of $572 million, up 4% sequentially. Total debt as of Sep 30, 2019 decreased 3.2% sequentially to $3 billion. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
We are also pleased by the company’s efforts to reward shareholders. Evidently, the company bought back shares worth $25 million under its $250-million buyback program.
Investors interested in the broader Transportation sector are awaiting third-quarter earnings reports from key players like Expeditors International of Washington, Inc (EXPD - Free Report) , Air Lease Corporation (AL - Free Report) and Hertz Global Holdings, Inc (HTZ - Free Report) . While Hertz will release third-quarter results on Nov 4, Expeditors and Air Lease will announce the same on Nov 5 and Nov 7, respectively.
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