AirTran posts better than expects 4Q results; record FY2009 profits

AirTran’s shares gained 1.5% yesterday, upon the release of better-than-expected fourth quarter results, in which the carrier reported a net profit of USD17.1 million (compared to a loss of USD122 million in the previous corresponding period), to become one of only a handful of carriers to report a profit in every quarter of 2009.

For the full year, AirTran’s net profit of USD134.7 million, operating profit of USD177 million and load factor of 79.8% represented record results for the carrier.

Looking forward, AirTran expected to increase capacity by 3-4% in 2010 and 2-3% in 2011, with CEO, Robert Fornaro, commenting, "I think there are going to be some opportunities for us, but I think the days of double-digit growth or more for carriers of our size, you're just not going to see that happen".

The carrier added that it expected unit revenues to improve in Feb-2010 and Mar-2010, with a 2.5-3.5% increase in total unit revenue per ASM in 1Q2010, as business markets trend positive, following a 6.1% reduction in RASM and a 10.3% reduction in PRASM in 4Q2009 (average yield per RPM was down 9.3% in the quarter, as the average fare slipped 5.6% to USD90.75). 

Allegiant’s shares also gained yesterday, up 3.7%, after the carrier posted its 28th consecutive quarter of profitability in 4Q2009, with an operating profit of USD18.1 million (for an operating margin of 13.4%) and a net profit of USD10.5 million.

See related article: Allegiant margins dropping, but still to die for

A year of growth for AirAsia X in 2010

AirAsia X CEO, Azran Osman-Rani, in an interview with EyeforTravel, stated the carrier’s agenda for 2010 is “Growth! More planes, more destinations and more profits”. Mr Osman-Rani added that the carrier plans to reduce non-fuel operating costs by a further 18% in 2010, with the delivery of four new A330 aircraft during the year. Shares in parent, AirAsia Group, were down 4.4% yesterday.

In India, SpiceJet’s shares slumped 7.7%, reflecting general weakness in the Indian market.

In Europe, shares in Norwegian Air Shuttle regained 6.6%, while Ryanair’s shares slipped 2.2% and easyJet’s shares were 1.3% weaker. In Africa, shares in 1time Holdings slumped 8.0% after a 10% rise the previous day. See CAPA's new Middle East-Africa Airline Daily.


Selected LCCs daily share price movements (% change): 27-Jan-2010