9-Mar-2010 10:59 AM

AirTran Airways seeing yield improvements; capacity to remain "disciplined"

AirTran Airways, at the Raymond James Institutional Investors Conference on 08-Mar-2010, announced the following details regarding its operations:

  • Network: Has increased its network from 31 cities and 40 routes in 2000, to 70 cities and 185 routes currently;
  • Fleet: Currently has a fleet of 138 aircraft (86 B717s and 52 B737-700s), less than the previously-expected 161 aircraft, with the carrier deferring/selling 47 aircraft from its 2008-2011 fleet plan. This reduced aircraft spending by nearly USD1 billion through 2010. The carrier has no permanent financing requirements until 1Q2011;
  • Capacity: Reduced capacity (ASMs) by 2% in 2009. The carrier plans to maintain its fleet at 138 aircraft in 2010 (down from a previously planned 175 aircraft) despite a 3-4% planned capacity increase, with the carrier's fleet to increase to 145 in 2011 (down from a previously planned 188 aircraft), with a 3-4% planned capacity increase;
  • Capacity comparisons: Has increased capacity by 5% between 2007 and 2010, with Southwest expected to report a 1% increase and Delta reducing capacity by 13%;
  • Network: Increased its network from 278 daily flights in 2000 to an expected 713 daily services in 2010 (the same level as in 2008);
  • Hedging: Hedged 45% of its fuel requirements for 2010, with 46% hedged in 1Q2010, 40% in 2Q2010, 46% in 3Q2010 and 49% in 4Q2010. 15% of the carrier's fuel hedging requirements are currently covered for 2011;
  • Outlook: There is a "favourable industry backdrop going forward", with capacity remaining "disciplined" and yield trends "improving". During 1Q2010, total unit revenues are up in the 3.5-4.5% range, with double-digit improvements expected in Mar-2010 and into 2Q2010 [more]