News releases

Alaska Air Group Reports Record Third Quarter 2015 Results
PR Newswire
SEATTLE

SEATTLE, Oct. 22, 2015 /PRNewswire/ --

Financial Highlights:

  • Reported record third quarter net income, excluding special items, of $277 million, a 39% increase over the third quarter of 2014.
  • Reported adjusted earnings per share of $2.16 per diluted share, a 47% increase over the third quarter of 2014 and ahead of First Call analyst consensus estimate of $2.10 per share.
  • Earned net income for the third quarter under Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) of $274 million, or $2.14 per diluted share, compared to net income of $198 million, or $1.45 per diluted share in 2014.
  • Recorded $90 million of employee incentive pay through the first nine months of 2015 in recognition of Air Group employees' progress on meeting customer service, safety, operational and financial goals.
  • Generated record adjusted pretax margin in the third quarter of 29.2% compared to 21.8% in 2014.
  • Generated 22.8% adjusted pretax margin for the trailing 12-month period ended Sept. 30, 2015, compared to 15.9% for the same period in the prior year.
  • Achieved trailing 12-month after-tax return on invested capital of 24.2%, a 700 basis point improvement from the 17.2% reported for the 12-month period ended September 30, 2014.
  • Repurchased 1.6 million shares of common stock for $119 million in the third quarter of 2015, and 5.6 million shares of common stock for $381 million during the first nine months of 2015, representing 4.5% of the total shares outstanding at the beginning of the year.
  • Paid a $0.20 per-share quarterly cash dividend on Aug. 14, 2015, a 60% increase over the dividend paid in the third quarter of 2014.

Year-To-Date Accomplishments and Highlights:

  • Ranked "Highest in Customer Satisfaction Among Traditional Carriers" in 2015 by J.D. Power for the eighth year in a row.
  • Ranked "Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Airline Loyalty Rewards Programs" in 2015 by J.D. Power for the second consecutive year.
  • Awarded Fast Travel Platinum status from the International Air Transport Association, which is awarded to airlines offering four or more Fast Travel options to at least 80% of their passengers.
  • Rated the #1 Best Airline Rewards Program by U.S. News and World Report.
  • Announced that a free first checked bag is a permanent feature of the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature affinity credit card.
  • Held the No. 1 spot in U.S. Department of Transportation on-time performance among the six largest U.S. airlines for the 12 months ended August 2015.
  • Improved third quarter customer satisfaction score by 1.2 percentage points over prior year.
  • Increased fuel efficiency (as measured by seat-miles per gallon) by 1.6% compared to the third quarter of 2014, as part of our effort to be the airline leader in environmental stewardship.
  • Began offering customers the option to upgrade to Preferred Plus Seating, providing customers the ability to select bulkhead and exit-row seating 24 hours in advance of their flight. Preferred Plus Seating also includes priority boarding and a complimentary beer, wine or cocktail.
  • Amended our agreement with SkyWest Airlines to replace all eight CRJ-700 regional aircraft with Embraer E175 aircraft.
  • Contracted for eight additional E175 aircraft, beginning in 2017, bringing the total E175 fleet to 23 aircraft by the end of 2017.
  • Launched "Beyond Service" customer service training to all customer-facing employees. Nearly 6,000 of Alaska and Horizon employees have completed the training.
  • Began our award-winning intensive leadership training workshop, Gear Up 2, for over 1,200 leaders at Alaska and Horizon.
  • Announced a 10-year sponsorship agreement with the University of Washington which includes, among other things, exclusive naming rights for Alaska Airlines Field at Husky Stadium and Alaska Airlines Arena.
  • New routes announced in the third quarter are as follows:

 

New Nonstop Routes Announced (Launch Dates) 

Portland, Oregon, to Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota (2/18/16)

Portland to Omaha (2/18/16)

Portland to Dallas (2/18/16)

Portland to Kansas City, Missouri (2/18/16)

Alaska Air Group, Inc., (NYSE: ALK) today reported third quarter 2015 GAAP net income of $274 million, or $2.14 per diluted share, compared to $198 million, or $1.45 per diluted share in the third quarter of 2014. Excluding the impact of mark-to-market fuel hedge adjustments of $5 million ($3 million after tax, or $0.02 per diluted share), the company reported record adjusted net income of $277 million, or $2.16 per diluted share, compared to adjusted net income of $200 million, or $1.47 per diluted share in 2014.

"This was the busiest summer in our 83 year history and represents our highest quarterly profit ever," said CEO Brad Tilden. "I want to thank our employees who are building a fundamentally strong business and our customers for their incredible loyalty and support."

The following table reconciles the company's reported GAAP net income and earnings per diluted share (EPS) during the third quarters of 2015 and 2014 to adjusted amounts:

 

Three Months Ended September 30,

 

2015

 

2014

(in millions, except per-share amounts)

Dollars

 

Diluted EPS

 

Dollars

 

Diluted EPS

Reported GAAP net income

$

274

   

$

2.14

   

$

198

   

$

1.45

 

Mark-to-market fuel hedge adjustments, net of tax

3

   

0.02

   

2

   

0.02

 

Non-GAAP adjusted income and per-share amounts

$

277

   

$

2.16

   

$

200

   

$

1.47

 

Statistical data, as well as a reconciliation of the reported non-GAAP financial measures, can be found in the accompanying tables. A glossary of financial terms can be found on the last page of this release.

A conference call regarding the third quarter results will be simulcast online at 8:30 a.m. Pacific time on Oct. 22, 2015. It can be accessed through the company's website at www.alaskaair.com/investors. For those unable to listen to the live broadcast, a replay will be available after the conclusion of the call.

References in this news release to "Air Group," "company," "we," "us" and "our" refer to Alaska Air Group, Inc. and its subsidiaries, unless otherwise specified. Alaska Airlines, Inc. and Horizon Air Industries, Inc. are referred to as "Alaska" and "Horizon," respectively, and together as our "airlines."

This news release may contain forward-looking statements subject to the safe harbor protection provided by Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, and the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements relate to future events and involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties that may cause actual outcomes to be materially different from those indicated by any forward-looking statements. For a comprehensive discussion of potential risk factors, see Item 1A of the company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended Dec. 31, 2014. Some of these risks include general economic conditions, increases in operating costs including fuel, competition, labor costs and relations, inability to meet cost reduction goals, seasonal fluctuations in our financial results, an aircraft accident, and changes in laws and regulations. All of the forward-looking statements are qualified in their entirety by reference to the risk factors discussed therein. We operate in a continually changing business environment, and new risk factors emerge from time to time. Management cannot predict such new risk factors, nor can it assess the impact, if any, of such new risk factors on our business or events described in any forward-looking statements. We expressly disclaim any obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements after the date of this report to conform them to actual results. Over time, our actual results, performance or achievements will likely differ from the anticipated results, performance or achievements that are expressed or implied by our forward-looking statements, and such differences might be significant and materially adverse.

Alaska Airlines, a subsidiary of Alaska Air Group (NYSE: ALK), together with its partner regional airlines, serves more than 100 cities through an expansive network in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Alaska Airlines ranked "Highest in Customer Satisfaction Among Traditional Carriers in North America" in the J.D. Power North American Airline Satisfaction Study for eight consecutive years from 2008 to 2015. Alaska Airlines' Mileage Plan also ranked "Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Airline Loyalty Rewards Programs" in the J.D. Power 2014 and 2015 Airline Loyalty/Rewards Program Satisfaction Report. For reservations, visit www.alaskaair.com. For more news and information, visit the Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air Newsroom at www.alaskaair.com/newsroom.

CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS (unaudited)

Alaska Air Group, Inc.

                   
                       
 

Three Months Ended September 30,

 

Nine Months Ended September 30,

(in millions, except per-share amounts)

2015

 

2014

 

Change

 

2015

 

2014

 

Change

Operating Revenues:

                     

Passenger

                     

Mainline

$

1,057

 

$

1,030

 

3%

 

$

2,977

 

$

2,858

 

4%

Regional

240

 

219

 

10%

 

638

 

605

 

5%

Total passenger revenue

1,297

 

1,249

 

4%

 

3,615

 

3,463

 

4%

Freight and mail

30

 

32

 

(6)%

 

83

 

88

 

(6)%

Other - net

188

 

184

 

2%

 

523

 

511

 

2%

Total Operating Revenues

1,515

 

1,465

 

3%

 

4,221

 

4,062

 

4%

                       

Operating Expenses:

                     

Wages and benefits

312

 

279

 

12%

 

923

 

832

 

11%

Variable incentive pay

32

 

30

 

7%

 

90

 

84

 

7%

Aircraft fuel, including hedging gains and losses

245

 

394

 

(38)%

 

741

 

1,112

 

(33)%

Aircraft maintenance

67

 

58

 

16%

 

182

 

166

 

10%

Aircraft rent

26

 

27

 

(4)%

 

78

 

84

 

(7)%

Landing fees and other rentals

80

 

74

 

8%

 

217

 

207

 

5%

Contracted services

74

 

66

 

12%

 

209

 

188

 

11%

Selling expenses

53

 

55

 

(4)%

 

160

 

154

 

4%

Depreciation and amortization

81

 

75

 

8%

 

236

 

218

 

8%

Food and beverage service

30

 

24

 

25%

 

83

 

68

 

22%

Other

82

 

67

 

22%

 

259

 

229

 

13%

Total Operating Expenses

1,082

 

1,149

 

(6)%

 

3,178

 

3,342

 

(5)%

Operating Income

433

 

316

 

37%

 

1,043

 

720

 

45%

                       

Nonoperating Income (Expense):

                     

Interest income

5

 

5

     

16

 

15

   

Interest expense

(10)

 

(12)

     

(32)

 

(36)

   

Interest capitalized

9

 

5

     

25

 

14

   

Other - net

 

2

     

1

 

20

   
 

4

 

     

10

 

13

   

Income Before Income Tax

437

 

316

     

1,053

 

733

   

Income tax expense

163

 

118

     

396

 

276

   

Net Income

$

274

 

$

198

     

$

657

 

$

457

   
                       

Basic Earnings Per Share:

$

2.15

 

$

1.47

     

$

5.08

 

$

3.35

   

Diluted Earnings Per Share:

$

2.14

 

$

1.45

     

$

5.05

 

$

3.31

   
                       

Shares Used for Computation:

                     

Basic

127.308

 

134.865

     

129.231

 

136.482

   

Diluted

128.205

 

136.158

     

130.200

 

137.825

   
                       

Cash dividend declared per share:

$

0.20

 

$

0.125

     

$

0.60

 

$

0.375

   

 

CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS (unaudited)

     

Alaska Air Group, Inc.

     
       

(in millions)

September 30, 2015

 

December 31, 2014

Cash and marketable securities

$

1,258

 

$

1,217

       

Total current assets

1,715

 

1,756

Property and equipment-net

4,734

 

4,299

Other assets

115

 

126

Total assets

6,564

 

6,181

       

Air traffic liability

760

 

631

Current portion of long-term debt

117

 

117

Other current liabilities

977

 

923

Current liabilities

1,854

 

1,671

Long-term debt

593

 

686

Other liabilities and credits

1,752

 

1,697

Shareholders' equity

2,365

 

2,127

Total liabilities and shareholders' equity

$

6,564

 

$

6,181

               

Debt-to-capitalization ratio, adjusted for operating leases(a)

 

27%:73%

   

31%:69%

       

Number of common shares outstanding

126.782

 

131.481

(a)     Calculated using the present value of remaining aircraft lease payments.

 

OPERATING STATISTICS SUMMARY (unaudited)

           

Alaska Air Group, Inc.

                   
                       
 

Three Months Ended September 30,

 

Nine Months Ended September 30,

 

2015

 

2014

 

Change

 

2015

 

2014

 

Change

Consolidated Operating Statistics:(a)

                     

Revenue passengers (000)

8,616

 

7,994

 

7.8%

 

23,956

 

21,996

 

8.9%

RPMs (000,000) "traffic"

8,878

 

8,245

 

7.7%

 

25,052

 

23,078

 

8.6%

ASMs (000,000) "capacity"

10,368

 

9,582

 

8.2%

 

29,574

 

26,922

 

9.9%

Load factor

85.6%

 

86.0%

 

(0.4pts)

 

84.7%

 

85.7%

 

(1.0pts)

Yield

14.61¢

 

15.14¢

 

(3.5%)

 

14.43¢

 

15.00¢

 

(3.8%)

PRASM

12.51¢

 

13.03¢

 

(4.0%)

 

12.22¢

 

12.86¢

 

(5.0%)

RASM

14.61¢

 

15.28¢

 

(4.4%)

 

14.27¢

 

15.09¢

 

(5.4%)

CASM excluding fuel(b)

8.07¢

 

7.87¢

 

2.5%

 

8.24¢

 

8.28¢

 

(0.5%)

Economic fuel cost per gallon(b)

$

1.82

 

$

3.15

 

(42.2%)

 

$

1.97

 

$

3.22

 

(38.8%)

Fuel gallons (000,000)

132

 

124

 

6.5%

 

377

 

351

 

7.4%

ASM's per gallon

78.5

 

77.3

 

1.6%

 

78.4

 

76.7

 

2.2%

Average number of full-time equivalent employees (FTE)

14,003

 

12,998

 

7.7%

 

13,690

 

12,633

 

8.4%

                       

Mainline Operating Statistics:

                     

Revenue passengers (000)

6,171

 

5,752

 

7.3%

 

17,193

 

15,796

 

8.8%

RPMs (000,000) "traffic"

7,976

 

7,440

 

7.2%

 

22,633

 

20,871

 

8.4%

ASMs (000,000) "capacity"

9,278

 

8,607

 

7.8%

 

26,609

 

24,197

 

10.0%

Load factor

86.0%

 

86.4%

 

(0.4pts)

 

85.1%

 

86.3%

 

(1.2pts)

Yield

13.26¢

 

13.84¢

 

(4.2%)

 

13.15¢

 

13.69¢

 

(3.9%)

PRASM

11.40¢

 

11.97¢

 

(4.8%)

 

11.19¢

 

11.81¢

 

(5.2%)

RASM

13.50¢

 

14.18¢

 

(4.8%)

 

13.23¢

 

14.01¢

 

(5.6%)

CASM excluding fuel(b)

7.19¢

 

7.02¢

 

2.4%

 

7.33¢

 

7.37¢

 

(0.5%)

Economic fuel cost per gallon(b)

$

1.81

 

$

3.15

 

(42.5%)

 

$

1.97

 

$

3.22

 

(38.8%)

Fuel gallons (000,000)

113

 

108

 

4.6%

 

326

 

305

 

6.9%

ASM's per gallon

82.1

 

79.7

 

3.0%

 

81.6

 

79.3

 

2.9%

Average number of FTE's

10,824

 

10,153

 

6.6%

 

10,643

 

9,837

 

8.2%

Aircraft utilization

10.9

 

10.8

 

0.9%

 

10.9

 

10.5

 

3.8%

Average aircraft stage length

1,168

 

1,161

 

0.6%

 

1,185

 

1,180

 

0.4%

Operating fleet

144

 

136

 

8a/c

 

144

 

136

 

8a/c

                       

Regional Operating Statistics:(c)

                     

Revenue passengers (000)

2,445

 

2,242

 

9.1%

 

6,762

 

6,200

 

9.1%

RPMs (000,000) "traffic"

903

 

806

 

12.0%

 

2,419

 

2,206

 

9.7%

ASMs (000,000) "capacity"

1,090

 

975

 

11.8%

 

2,965

 

2,725

 

8.8%

Load factor

82.8%

 

82.7%

 

0.1pts

 

81.6%

 

81.0%

 

0.6pts

Yield

26.53¢

 

27.17¢

 

(2.4%)

 

26.37¢

 

27.41¢

 

(3.8%)

PRASM

21.97¢

 

22.46¢

 

(2.2%)

 

21.51¢

 

22.19¢

 

(3.1%)

Operating fleet(c)

63

 

51

 

12a/c

 

63

 

51

 

12a/c

                       

(a)

Except for full-time equivalent employees, data includes information related to third-party regional capacity purchase flying arrangements.

(b)

See a reconciliation of operating expenses excluding fuel, a reconciliation of economic fuel costs, and Note A in the accompanying pages, for a discussion of why these measures may be important to investors.

(c)

Data presented includes information related to flights operated by Horizon Air and third-party carriers.

 

OPERATING SEGMENTS (unaudited)

           

Alaska Air Group, Inc.

                       
                           
 

Three Months Ended September 30, 2015

 

Alaska

                   

(in millions)

Mainline

 

Regional

 

Horizon

 

Consolidating

 

Air Group Adjusted(a)

 

Special Items(b)

 

Consolidated

Operating revenues

                         

Passenger

                         

Mainline

$

1,057

   

$

   

$

   

$

   

$

1,057

   

$

   

$

1,057

 

Regional

   

240

   

   

   

240

   

   

240

 

Total passenger revenues

1,057

   

240

   

   

   

1,297

   

   

1,297

 

CPA revenues

   

   

105

   

(105)

   

   

   

 

Freight and mail

29

   

1

   

   

   

30

   

   

30

 

Other-net

167

   

20

   

1

   

   

188

       

188

 

Total operating revenues

1,253

   

261

   

106

   

(105)

   

1,515

   

   

1,515

 
                           

Operating expenses

                         

Operating expenses, excluding fuel

667

   

181

   

93

   

(104)

   

837

   

   

837

 

Economic fuel

205

   

35

   

   

   

240

   

5

   

245

 

Total operating expenses

872

   

216

   

93

   

(104)

   

1,077

   

5

   

1,082

 
                           

Nonoperating income (expense)

                         

Interest income

5

   

   

   

   

5

   

   

5

 

Interest expense

(7)

   

   

(3)

   

   

(10)

   

   

(10)

 

Other

7

   

   

   

2

   

9

   

   

9

 
 

5

   

   

(3)

   

2

   

4

   

   

4

 

Income before income tax

$

386

   

$

45

   

$

10

   

$

1

   

$

442

   

$

(5)

   

$

437

 
   
   
 

Three Months Ended September 30, 2014

 

Alaska

                   

(in millions)

Mainline

 

Regional

 

Horizon

 

Consolidating

 

Air Group Adjusted(a)

 

Special Items(b)

 

Consolidated

Operating revenues

                         

Passenger

                         

Mainline

$

1,030

   

$

   

$

   

$

   

$

1,030

   

$

   

$

1,030

 

Regional

   

219

   

   

   

219

   

   

219

 

Total passenger revenues

1,030

   

219

   

   

   

1,249

   

   

1,249

 

CPA revenues

   

   

99

   

(99)

   

   

   

 

Freight and mail

30

   

2

   

   

   

32

   

   

32

 

Other-net

161

   

22

   

1

   

   

184

   

   

184

 

Total operating revenues

1,221

   

243

   

100

   

(99)

   

1,465

   

   

1,465

 
                           

Operating expenses

                         

Operating expenses, excluding fuel

605

   

162

   

85

   

(97)

   

755

   

   

755

 

Economic fuel

338

   

52

   

   

   

390

   

4

   

394

 

Total operating expenses

943

   

214

   

85

   

(97)

   

1,145

   

4

   

1,149

 
                           

Nonoperating income (expense)

                         

Interest income

5

   

   

   

   

5

   

   

5

 

Interest expense

(8)

   

   

(4)

   

   

(12)

   

   

(12)

 

Other

7

   

   

   

   

7

   

   

7

 
 

4

   

   

(4)

   

   

   

   

 

Income before income tax

$

282

   

$

29

   

$

11

   

$

(2)

   

$

320

   

$

(4)

   

$

316

 

 

   
 

Nine Months Ended September 30, 2015

 

Alaska

                   

(in millions)

Mainline

 

Regional

 

Horizon

 

Consolidating

 

Air Group Adjusted(a)

 

Special Items(b)

 

Consolidated

Operating revenues

                         

Passenger

                         

Mainline

$

2,977

   

$

   

$

   

$

   

$

2,977

   

$

   

$

2,977

 

Regional

   

638

   

   

   

638

   

   

638

 

Total passenger revenues

2,977

   

638

   

   

   

3,615

   

   

3,615

 

CPA revenues

   

   

303

   

(303)

   

   

   

 

Freight and mail

79

   

4

   

   

   

83

   

   

83

 

Other-net

465

   

55

   

3

       

523

   

   

523

 

Total operating revenues

3,521

   

697

   

306

   

(303)

   

4,221

   

   

4,221

 
                           

Operating expenses

                         

Operating expenses, excluding fuel

1,951

   

514

   

274

   

(302)

   

2,437

   

   

2,437

 

Economic fuel

641

   

101

   

   

   

742

   

(1)

   

741

 

Total operating expenses

2,592

   

615

   

274

   

(302)

   

3,179

   

(1)

   

3,178

 
                           

Nonoperating income (expense)

                         

Interest income

15

   

   

   

1

   

16

   

   

16

 

Interest expense

(21)

   

   

(8)

   

(3)

   

(32)

   

   

(32)

 

Other

21

   

   

   

5

   

26

   

   

26

 
 

15

   

   

(8)

   

3

   

10

   

   

10

 

Income before income tax

$

944

   

$

82

   

$

24

   

$

2

   

$

1,052

   

$

1

   

$

1,053

 
                           
   
   
 

Nine Months Ended September 30, 2014

 

Alaska

                   

(in millions)

Mainline

 

Regional

 

Horizon

 

Consolidating

 

Air Group Adjusted(a)

 

Special Items(b)

 

Consolidated

Operating revenues

                         

Passenger

                         

Mainline

$

2,858

   

$

   

$

   

$

   

$

2,858

   

$

   

$

2,858

 

Regional

   

605

   

   

   

605

   

   

605

 

Total passenger revenues

2,858

   

605

   

   

   

3,463

   

   

3,463

 

CPA revenues

   

   

277

   

(277)

   

   

   

 

Freight and mail

84

   

4

   

   

   

88

   

   

88

 

Other-net

448

   

59

   

4

   

   

511

   

   

511

 

Total operating revenues

3,390

   

668

   

281

   

(277)

   

4,062

   

   

4,062

 
                           

Operating expenses

                         

Operating expenses, excluding fuel

1,783

   

464

   

257

   

(274)

   

2,230

   

   

2,230

 

Economic fuel

980

   

149

   

   

   

1,129

   

(17)

   

1,112

 

Total operating expenses

2,763

   

613

   

257

   

(274)

   

3,359

   

(17)

   

3,342

 
                           

Nonoperating income (expense)

                         

Interest income

15

   

   

   

   

15

   

   

15

 

Interest expense

(25)

   

(1)

   

(10)

   

   

(36)

   

   

(36)

 

Other

34

   

   

   

   

34

   

   

34

 
 

24

   

(1)

   

(10)

   

   

13

   

   

13

 

Income before income tax

$

651

   

$

54

   

$

14

   

$

(3)

   

$

716

   

$

17

   

$

733

 
   

(a)

The adjusted column represents the financial information that is reviewed by management to assess performance of operations and determine capital allocations and does not include certain charges.  See Note A in the accompanying pages for further information.

(b)

Includes mark-to-market fuel-hedge accounting adjustments.

 

Alaska Air Group, Inc.

             
               
         

CASM EXCLUDING FUEL RECONCILIATION (unaudited)

       
 

Three Months Ended September 30,

 

Nine Months Ended September 30,

(in cents)

2015

 

2014

 

2015

 

2014

Consolidated:

             

CASM

10.44

¢

 

11.99

¢

 

10.75

¢

 

12.41

¢

Less the following components:

             

Aircraft fuel, including hedging gains and losses per ASM

2.37

   

4.12

   

2.51

   

4.13

 

CASM excluding fuel

8.07

¢

 

7.87

¢

 

8.24

¢

 

8.28

¢

               

Mainline:

             

CASM

9.45

¢

 

11.00

¢

 

9.74

¢

 

11.35

¢

Less the following components:

             

Aircraft fuel, including hedging gains and losses per ASM

2.26

   

3.98

   

2.41

   

3.98

 

CASM excluding fuel

7.19

¢

 

7.02

¢

 

7.33

¢

 

7.37

¢

 

 

FUEL RECONCILIATIONS (unaudited)

   
 

Three Months Ended September 30,

 

2015

 

2014

(in millions, except for per-gallon amounts)

Dollars

 

Cost/Gallon

 

Dollars

 

Cost/Gallon

Raw or "into-plane" fuel cost

$

236

 

$

1.78

 

$

383

 

$

3.09

Losses on settled hedges

5

 

0.04

 

7

 

0.06

Consolidated economic fuel expense

240

 

1.82

 

390

 

3.15

Mark-to-market fuel hedge adjustment

5

 

0.03

 

4

 

0.03

GAAP fuel expense

$

245

 

$

1.85

 

$

394

 

$

3.18

Fuel gallons

132

     

124

   
   
   
 

Nine Months Ended September 30,

 

2015

 

2014

(in millions, except for per gallon amounts)

Dollars

 

Cost/Gallon

 

Dollars

 

Cost/Gallon

Raw or "into-plane" fuel cost

$

727

 

$

1.93

 

$

1,095

 

$

3.12

(Gains) losses on settled hedges

15

 

0.04

 

34

 

0.10

Consolidated economic fuel expense

742

 

1.97

 

1,129

 

3.22

Mark-to-market fuel hedge adjustment

(1)

 

 

(17)

 

(0.05)

GAAP fuel expense

$

741

 

$

1.97

 

$

1,112

 

$

3.17

Fuel gallons

377

     

351

   

Note A: Pursuant to Regulation G, we are providing reconciliation of reported non-GAAP financial measures to their most directly comparable financial measures reported on a GAAP basis. We believe that consideration of these non-GAAP financial measures may be important to investors for the following reasons:

  • By eliminating fuel expense and certain special items from our unit metrics, we believe that we have better visibility into the results of operations and our non-fuel cost-reduction initiatives. Our industry is highly competitive and is characterized by high fixed costs, so even a small reduction in non-fuel operating costs can result in a significant improvement in operating results. In addition, we believe that all domestic carriers are similarly impacted by changes in jet fuel costs over the long term, so it is important for management (and thus investors) to understand the impact of (and trends in) company-specific cost drivers such as labor rates and productivity, airport costs, maintenance costs, etc., which are more controllable by management.
  • Cost per ASM (CASM) excluding fuel and certain special items is one of the most important measures used by management and by the Air Group Board of Directors in assessing quarterly and annual cost performance.
  • Adjusted income before income tax and CASM excluding fuel (and other items as specified in our plan documents) are important metrics for the employee incentive plan that covers all Air Group employees.
  • CASM excluding fuel and certain special items is a measure commonly used by industry analysts, and we believe it is the basis by which they compare our airlines to others in the industry. The measure is also the subject of frequent questions from investors.
  • Disclosure of the individual impact of certain noted items provides investors the ability to measure and monitor performance both with and without these special items. We believe that disclosing the impact of certain items, such as mark-to-market hedging adjustments or special revenues, is important because it provides information on significant items that are not necessarily indicative of future performance. Industry analysts and investors consistently measure our performance without these items for better comparability between periods and among other airlines.
  • Although we disclose our passenger unit revenues, we do not (nor are we able to) evaluate unit revenues excluding the impact that changes in fuel costs have had on ticket prices. Fuel expense represents a large percentage of our total operating expenses. Fluctuations in fuel prices often drive changes in unit revenues in the mid-to-long term. Although we believe it is useful to evaluate non-fuel unit costs for the reasons noted above, we would caution readers of these financial statements not to place undue reliance on unit costs excluding fuel as a measure or predictor of future profitability because of the significant impact of fuel costs on our business.

Note B: Air Group has two operating airlines - Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air. Each is a regulated airline with separate management teams primarily in operational roles. To manage the two operating airlines, management views the business in three operating segments. Alaska operates a fleet of passenger jets (Alaska Mainline) and contracts with Horizon, SkyWest Airlines, Inc. (SkyWest), and Peninsula Airways, Inc. (PenAir) for regional capacity under which Alaska receives all passenger revenue from those flights (Alaska Regional). Horizon operates a fleet of turboprop aircraft and sells all of its capacity to Alaska pursuant to a capacity purchase arrangement (Horizon). The Company believes the amounts paid by Alaska to Horizon approximate current market rates received by other regional carriers for similar flying and are available to pay for various Horizon operating expenses such as crew expenses, maintenance, and aircraft ownership costs.  All inter-company revenues and expenses between Alaska and Horizon are eliminated in consolidation.

Glossary of Terms

Aircraft Utilization - block hours per day; this represents the average number of hours our aircraft are flying

Aircraft Stage Length - represents the average miles flown per aircraft departure

ASMs - available seat miles, or "capacity"; represents total seats available across the fleet multiplied by the number of miles flown

CASM - operating costs per ASM, or "unit cost"; represents all operating expenses including fuel and special items

CASMex - operating costs excluding fuel and special items per ASM; this metric is used to help track progress toward reduction of non-fuel operating costs since fuel is largely out of our control

Debt-to-capitalization ratio - represents adjusted debt (long-term debt plus the present value of future operating lease payments) divided by total equity plus adjusted debt

Diluted Earnings per Share - represents earnings per share using fully diluted shares outstanding

Diluted Shares - represents the total number of shares that would be outstanding if all possible sources of conversion, such as stock options, were exercised

Economic Fuel - best estimate of the cash cost of fuel, net of the impact of our fuel-hedging program

Load Factor - RPMs as a percentage of ASMs; represents the number of available seats that were filled with paying passengers

Mainline - represents flying Boeing 737 jets and all associated revenues and costs

PRASM - passenger revenue per ASM; commonly called "passenger unit revenue"

Productivity - number of revenue passengers per full-time equivalent employee

RASM - operating revenue per ASMs, or "unit revenue"; operating revenue includes all passenger revenue, freight & mail, Mileage Plan, and other ancillary revenue; represents the average total revenue for flying one seat one mile

Regional - represents capacity purchased by Alaska from Horizon, SkyWest, and PenAir.  In this segment, Alaska Regional records actual on-board passenger revenue, less costs such as fuel, distribution costs, and payments made to Horizon, SkyWest and PenAir under the respective capacity purchased arrangement (CPAs).  Additionally, Alaska Regional includes an allocation of corporate overhead such as IT, finance, other administrative costs incurred by Alaska and on behalf of Horizon.

RPMs - revenue passenger miles, or "traffic"; represents the number of seats that were filled with paying passengers; one passenger traveling one mile is one RPM

Yield - passenger revenue per RPM; represents the average revenue for flying one passenger one mile

 

SOURCE Alaska Air Group, Inc.