Delta and US Airways report losses, Alaska reports “best quarterly financial performance"


North and South American carriers' stocks were mixed on Thursday (22-Oct-2009), with AMEX Airline Index (+0.5%) rising only slightly as a result. Stocks were affected by the further release of carriers' 3Q2009 financial results and a gain in the wider market, with the Dow ending trading up 1.3%. Oil prices (-0.2%) meanwhile slipped, to USD81.19.

Alaska Air reports net income of USD87.6 million

Alaska Air Group (-3.0%) reported its "best quarterly financial performance in many years" for 3Q2009, with net income of USD87.6 million, or USD2.46 per diluted share, compared to a net loss of USD86.5 million, or USD2.40 per diluted share, for the quarter. Excluding mark-to-market fuel hedge gains of USD7.3 million (USD4.6 million after tax or USD0.13 per diluted share), the company reported net income of USD83.0 million, or USD2.33 per diluted share, compared to net income of USD39.9 million, or USD1.10 per diluted share, excluding mark-to-market fuel hedge losses and other special items in 3Q2008.

The result exceeded analyst expectations, with Thomson Reuters stating analysts on average expected the carrier to make a profit of USD2.26 per share.

Chairman and CEO, Bill Ayer stated, "our work to reduce capacity to better match demand, redeploy aircraft into promising new markets, and achieve record operational reliability contributed to our best quarterly financial performance in many years,"

Delta Air Lines reports loss of USD161 million

Also reporting during trading, Delta Air Lines (-0.1%) reported a 3Q2009 loss of USD161 million, or USD0.19 per share, compared to a loss of USD50 million, or USD0.13 per share, in 3Q2008. On an adjusted basis, the carrier reported net income for the quarter of USD51 million, or USD0.06 per share, excluding USD212 million in special items. This result is a USD115 million improvement year-on-year on a combined basis.

The carrier attributed the loss to special charges and weak yields. As a result, the carrier stated it remains cautious of the stability of the US economy.

Delta CEO, Richard Anderson stated "our ability to earn a profit for the quarter shows we are making sound decisions for our business in this difficult economic environment. While we now see encouraging revenue and booking trends, we remain cautious in these early stages of an uncertain recovery."

US Airways reports net loss of USD80 million

US Airways reported a net loss of USD80 million, or USD0.60 per share. This compares to a net loss of USD866 million, or USD8.46 per share for the same period last year. Excluding special items, the carrier reported a net loss of USD110 million, or USD0.83 per share versus a net loss excluding special items of USD243 million, or USD2.36 per share for the same period last year.

The carrier stated it is seeing "strong evidence" of improving Business demand and the carrier's revenue environment. CEO, Doug Parker stated "as we look out into an improving demand environment, we believe we are in excellent position to capitalize on a recovering economy,"

Mr Parker added that while the outlook is promising, the downturn is not yet over, stating "I think those of us that are around have made it through a very difficult time. But it's not over. What has to happen is we have to get this industry back to profitability. The standard can't just be survival. We passed that standard. But there's a higher standard out there, which is getting actual returns for investors on their investment. That standard we have not gotten to, and have a long way to go yet to get there."

North & South America selected airlines daily share price movements (% change): 22-Oct-09

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