News releases

Alaska Air Group reports fourth quarter 2019 and full-year results; raises dividend 7%

SEATTLE, Jan. 28, 2020 /PRNewswire/ --

Dividend Increase:

  • Announced today a 7% increase in the quarterly dividend, from $0.35 per share to $0.375 per share. This is the seventh time the company has raised the dividend since initiating the quarterly dividend in July 2013, with a cumulative increase of 275% since that time. The dividend will be paid on March 5, 2020, to all shareholders of record as of Feb. 18, 2020. Dividends are financed from operating cash flow and cash on hand.

Financial Highlights:

  • Reported net income for the fourth quarter and full year 2019 under Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) of $181 million, or $1.46 per diluted share, and $769 million, or $6.19 per diluted share. These results compare to fourth quarter 2018 net income of $23 million, or $0.19 per diluted share, and full year 2018 net income of $437 million, or $3.52 per diluted share.
  • Reported adjusted net income, excluding merger-related costs and mark-to-market fuel hedging adjustments for the fourth quarter and full year 2019 of $181 million, or $1.46 per diluted share, and $798 million, or $6.42 per diluted share. These results compare to fourth quarter 2018 adjusted net income of $93 million, or $0.75 per diluted share, and full year 2018 adjusted net income of $554 million, or $4.46 per diluted share. This quarter's adjusted results compare to the First Call analyst consensus estimate of $1.41 per share.
  • Paid a $0.35 per share quarterly cash dividend in the fourth quarter, bringing total dividends paid in 2019 to $173 million.
  • Repurchased a total of 1,192,820 shares of common stock for approximately $75 million in 2019.
  • Generated approximately $1.7 billion of operating cash flow, and used approximately $696 million for capital expenditures, resulting in approximately $1 billion of free cash flow in 2019, representing free cash flow conversion of 133%.
  • Grew passenger revenues by 8% compared to the fourth quarter of 2018, and by 6% compared to full-year 2018.
  • Generated full-year adjusted pretax margin of 12% in 2019, 3.1 points higher than the 8.9% in 2018.
  • Held $1.5 billion in unrestricted cash and marketable securities as of Dec. 31, 2019.
  • Achieved the goal of 75% repayment on the $2 billion debt borrowed to fund the acquisition of Virgin America, driving our debt-to-capitalization ratio to 41% as of Dec. 31, 2019, from 47% as of Dec. 31, 2018 and 51% as of Dec. 31, 2016.
  • Reduced net adjusted debt to EBITDAR to 0.9x as of Dec. 31, 2019 from 1.7x as of Dec. 31, 2018.

2019 Accomplishments and Highlights:

Recognition and Awards

  • Ranked "Highest in Customer Satisfaction Among Traditional Carriers" in 2019 by J.D. Power for the 12th year in a row.
  • Named "Best U.S. Airline" by Condé Nast Traveler in their 2019 Readers Choice Awards for the second consecutive year, a continuation of the ten consecutive years that Virgin America received the recognition.
  • Mileage Plan™ ranked first in U.S. News & World Report's list of Best Travel Rewards Programs for the fifth time.
  • Ranked as top U.S. airline in Newsweek's 2020 Best Customer Service awards.
  • Named "Best Mid-Size Airline" by TripAdvisor in their 2019 Travelers Choice awards.
  • Earned top spot for customer satisfaction on the American Customer Satisfaction Index Travel Report for 2018-2019.
  • Named "Best Airline" by Kayak in their 2019 Travel Hacker Awards.
  • Ranked the best U.S. airline in Money Magazine for the second year in a row.
  • Rated as one of only two U.S. airlines in the Top 20 safest airlines in the world for 2019 by AirlineRatings.com.
  • Ranked as the top U.S. airline in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) for the third consecutive year.

Our People

  • Ranked among Forbes' 2019 global list for "World's Best Employers" for the fifth year in a row.
  • Completed Flight Path, our leader-led program aimed at informing and engaging our employees, bringing over 95% of Air Group employees together to discuss our culture and future.
  • Awarded $163 million in incentive pay for 2019, an 11% increase over 2018.
  • Alaska technicians, represented by the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association, ratified an integrated seniority list and a transition agreement, including a two-year contract extension, in July 2019. This completes a major integration milestone, in that all of our workgroups are under joint agreements, less than three years from our acquisition of Virgin America.
  • Alaska's clerical, office, and passenger service, and Alaska's ramp and stores employees, both represented by the International Association of Machinists, each ratified new five-year agreements in August 2019.

Our Guests and Product

  • Launched commercial service from Paine Field in Everett, Washington, to 10 West Coast destinations.
  • Finished painting the Alaska Airlines livery on all Airbus aircraft.
  • Completed cabin interior renovations on the 42nd Airbus aircraft, or approximately 60% of the Airbus fleet.
  • Installed high-speed satellite Wi-Fi on the 104th mainline aircraft, or approximately 45% of the mainline fleet.
  • Opened a new 15,000+ square foot flagship lounge in the North Satellite at Sea-Tac International Airport and announced plans to build a new lounge in Terminal 2 at San Francisco International Airport.
  • Added EL AL Israel Airlines as a new global Mileage Plan partner.
  • Added four Boeing 737-900ER aircraft and two Airbus A321neo aircraft in 2019.
  • Added four Embraer 175 (E175) aircraft to the Regional operating fleet in 2019.

Our Communities

  • Launched LIFT, Alaska's newly renamed social and environmental impact program, complete with a week of employee volunteer events in eight cities across our network.
  • Donated over $15 million and contributed more than 41,000 volunteer hours to support nonprofits in our local communities, focusing on youth and education, medical (research/transportation) and community outreach.

Alaska Air Group Inc. (NYSE: ALK) today reported fourth quarter 2019 GAAP net income of $181 million, or $1.46 per diluted share, compared to $23 million, or $0.19 per diluted share in 2018. Excluding the impact of merger-related costs and mark-to-market fuel hedge adjustments, the company reported fourth quarter adjusted net income of $181 million, or $1.46 per diluted share, compared to adjusted net income of $93 million, or $0.75 per diluted share in the fourth quarter of 2018.

The company reported full-year 2019 GAAP net income of $769 million, compared to $437 million in the prior year. Excluding the impact of merger-related costs and mark-to-market fuel hedge adjustments, the company reported adjusted net income of $798 million, or $6.42 per diluted share for 2019, compared to adjusted net income of $554 million, or $4.46 per diluted share in 2018.

"When we announced our intention to purchase Virgin America in the spring of 2016, we launched a body of work that was designed to make Alaska the 'Go To' airline for people living up and down the West Coast," said Brad Tilden, Alaska's CEO. "2019 was a fantastic year as we completed the majority of that work and began to see significant returns from our investment. We're grateful to our people for pulling together to produce this strong financial performance, and proud that they are sharing in this financial success through our incentive pay program."

The following tables reconcile the company's adjusted net income and earnings per diluted share (EPS) during the full year and fourth quarters of 2019 and 2018 to amounts as reported in accordance with GAAP:


Three Months Ended December 31,


2019


2018

(in millions, except per share amounts)

Dollars


Diluted EPS


Dollars


Diluted EPS

Reported GAAP net income and diluted EPS

$

181



$

1.46



$

23



$

0.19


Mark-to-market fuel hedge adjustments

(5)



(0.04)



52



0.42


Special items - merger-related costs

5



0.04



20



0.16


Special items - other (a)





20



0.16


Income tax effect on special items and fuel hedge adjustments





(22)



(0.18)


Non-GAAP adjusted net income and diluted EPS

$

181



$

1.46



$

93



$

0.75







Twelve Months Ended December 31,


2019


2018

(in millions, except per share amounts)

Dollars


Diluted EPS


Dollars


Diluted EPS

Reported GAAP net income and diluted EPS

$

769



$

6.19



$

437



$

3.52


Mark-to-market fuel hedge adjustments

(6)



(0.05)



22



0.18


Special items - merger-related costs

44



0.35



87



0.70


Special items - other (a)





45



0.36


Income tax effect on special items and fuel hedge adjustments

(9)



(0.07)



(37)



(0.30)


Non-GAAP adjusted net income and diluted EPS

$

798



$

6.42



$

554



$

4.46




(a) 

Special items - other includes special charges associated with the employee tax reform bonus paid in Q1 2018, and a $20 million contract termination fee incurred in Q4 2018.

Statistical data, as well as a reconciliation of other 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 fourth quarter and full year results will be simulcast online at 1:30 p.m. Pacific time on Jan. 28, 2020. It can be accessed through the company's website at 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., Horizon Air Industries, Inc., and Virgin America Inc. (through July 20, 2018, at which point it was legally merged into Alaska Airlines, Inc.) are referred to as "Alaska," "Horizon," and "Virgin America" 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, 2018, as well as in other documents filed by the Company with the SEC after the date thereof. Some of these risks include general economic conditions, increases in operating costs including fuel, competition, labor costs and relations, our indebtedness, inability to meet cost reduction goals, seasonal fluctuations in our financial results, an aircraft accident, changes in laws and regulations and risks inherent in the achievement of anticipated synergies and the timing thereof in connection with the acquisition of Virgin America. 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 and its regional partners fly 47 million guests a year to more than 115 destinations with an average of 1,300 daily flights across the United States and to Mexico, Canada and Costa Rica. With Alaska and Alaska Global Partners, guests can earn and redeem miles on flights to more than 800 destinations worldwide. Alaska Airlines ranked "Highest in Customer Satisfaction Among Traditional Carriers in North America" in the J.D. Power North America Airline Satisfaction Study for 12 consecutive years from 2008 to 2019. Learn about Alaska's award-winning service at newsroom.alaskaair.com and blog.alaskaair.com. Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air are subsidiaries of Alaska Air Group (NYSE: ALK).

CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS (unaudited)

Alaska Air Group, Inc.














Three Months Ended December 31,


Twelve Months Ended December 31,

(in millions, except per share amounts)

2019


2018


Change


2019


2018


Change

Operating Revenues:












Passenger revenue

2,057



1,907



8

%


8,095



7,631



6

%

Mileage Plan other revenue

119



105



13

%


465



434



7

%

Cargo and other

52



52



%


221



199



11

%

Total Operating Revenues

2,228



2,064



8

%


8,781



8,264



6

%













Operating Expenses:












Wages and benefits

638



561



14

%


2,370



2,190



8

%

Variable incentive pay

38



43



(12)

%


163



147



11

%

Aircraft fuel, including hedging gains and losses

470



539



(13)

%


1,878



1,936



(3)

%

Aircraft maintenance

96



115



(17)

%


437



435



%

Aircraft rent

84



82



2

%


331



315



5

%

Landing fees and other rentals

143



128



12

%


531



499



6

%

Contracted services

75



79



(5)

%


289



306



(6)

%

Selling expenses

77



81



(5)

%


313



326



(4)

%

Depreciation and amortization

106



108



(2)

%


423



398



6

%

Food and beverage service

55



53



4

%


214



211



1

%

Third-party regional carrier expense

41



40



3

%


166



154



8

%

Other

148



149



(1)

%


559



572



(2)

%

Special items - merger-related costs

5



20



(75)

%


44



87



(49)

%

Special items - other



20



NM





45



NM


Total Operating Expenses

1,976



2,018



(2)

%


7,718



7,621



1

%

Operating Income

252



46



NM



1,063



643



65

%













Non-operating Income (Expense):












Interest income

11



9



22

%


42



38



11

%

Interest expense

(18)



(20)



(10)

%


(78)



(91)



(14)

%

Interest capitalized

4



4



%


15



18



(17)

%

Other - net

(6)



(3)



NM



(26)



(23)



13

%

Total Non-operating Expense

(9)



(10)



(10)

%


(47)



(58)



(19)

%

Income Before Income Tax

243



36





1,016



585




Income tax expense

62



13





247



148




Net Income

$

181



$

23





$

769



$

437
















Basic Earnings Per Share:

$

1.47



$

0.19





$

6.24



$

3.55




Diluted Earnings Per Share:

$

1.46



$

0.19





$

6.19



$

3.52
















Shares Used for Computation:












Basic

123.129



123.271





123.279



123.230




Diluted

124.245



124.095





124.289



123.975
















Cash dividend declared per share

$

0.35



$

0.32





$

1.40



$

1.28




 

CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS (unaudited)


Alaska Air Group, Inc.








(in millions)

December 31, 2019


December 31, 2018

Cash and marketable securities

$

1,521



$

1,236


Other current assets

516



551


Current assets

2,037



1,787


Property and equipment-net

6,902



6,781


Operating lease asset

1,711




Goodwill

1,943



1,943


Intangible assets-net

122



127


Other assets

278



274


Total assets

$

12,993



$

10,912






Air traffic liability

900



788


Current portion of long-term debt

235



486


Current portion of operating lease liabilities

269




Other current liabilities

1,797



1,668


Current liabilities

$

3,201



$

2,942


Long-term debt

1,264



1,617


Long-term operating lease liabilities

1,439




Other liabilities and credits

2,758



2,602


Shareholders' equity

4,331



3,751


Total liabilities and shareholders' equity

$

12,993



$

10,912






Debt-to-capitalization ratio, including operating leases(a)

41%



47%


Number of common shares outstanding

123.000



123.194




(a) 

Following the adoption of the new lease accounting standard on January 1, 2019, the ratio is calculated using the total capitalized Operating lease liability, whereas prior year periods were calculated utilizing the present value of aircraft lease payments. This change had no impact to the ratio.

 

OPERATING STATISTICS SUMMARY (unaudited)







Alaska Air Group, Inc.






















Three Months Ended December 31,


Twelve Months Ended December 31,


2019


2018


Change


2019


2018


Change

Consolidated Operating Statistics:(a)












Revenue passengers (000)

11,715


11,117


5.4%


46,733


45,802


2.0%

RPMs (000,000) "traffic"

13,928


13,401


3.9%


56,040


54,673


2.5%

ASMs (000,000) "capacity"

16,648


16,079


3.5%


66,654


65,335


2.0%

Load factor

83.7%


83.3%


0.4 pts


84.1%


83.7%


0.4 pts

Yield

14.77¢


14.24¢


3.7%


14.45¢


13.96¢


3.5%

RASM

13.38¢


12.84¢


4.2%


13.17¢


12.65¢


4.2%

CASMex(b)

9.01¢


8.95¢


0.7%


8.70¢


8.50¢


2.3%

Economic fuel cost per gallon(b)

$2.21


$2.35


(6.0)%


$2.19


$2.28


(3.9)%

Fuel gallons (000,000)

216


208


3.8%


862


839


2.7%

ASM's per gallon

77.2


77.5


(0.4)%


77.3


77.9


(0.8)%

Average full-time equivalent employees (FTEs)

22,506


21,838


3.1%


22,126


21,641


2.2%

Employee productivity (PAX/FTEs/months)

173.5


169.7


2.2%


176.0


176.4


(0.2)%

Mainline Operating Statistics:












Revenue passengers (000)

8,805


8,496


3.6%


35,530


35,603


(0.2)%

RPMs (000,000) "traffic"

12,496


12,104


3.2%


50,413


49,781


1.3%

ASMs (000,000) "capacity"

14,895


14,457


3.0%


59,711


59,187


0.9%

Load factor

83.9%


83.7%


0.2 pts


84.4%


84.1%


0.3 pts

Yield

13.69¢


13.18¢


3.9%


13.39¢


13.01¢


2.9%

RASM

12.53¢


12.04¢


4.1%


12.36¢


11.93¢


3.6%

CASMex(b)

8.27¢


8.20¢


0.9%


8.00¢


7.73¢


3.5%

Economic fuel cost per gallon(b)

$2.19


$2.34


(6.4)%


$2.17


$2.27


(4.4)%

Fuel gallons (000,000)

182


177


2.8%


731


727


0.6%

ASM's per gallon

81.8


81.7


0.1%


81.7


81.4


0.4%

Average number of FTEs

16,771


16,445


2.0%


16,642


16,353


1.8%

Aircraft utilization

10.8


10.7


0.9%


10.9


11.2


(2.7)%

Average aircraft stage length

1,303


1,313


(0.8)%


1,299


1,298


0.1%

Operating fleet

237


233


4 a/c


237


233


4 a/c

Regional Operating Statistics:(c)












Revenue passengers (000)

2,910


2,621


11.0%


11,203


10,199


9.8%

RPMs (000,000) "traffic"

1,432


1,298


10.3%


5,627


4,892


15.0%

ASMs (000,000) "capacity"

1,753


1,623


8.0%


6,943


6,148


12.9%

Load factor

81.7%


80.0%


1.7 pts


81.0%


79.6%


1.4 pts

Yield

24.22¢


24.13¢


0.4%


23.90¢


23.66¢


1.0%

Operating Fleet

95


97


(2) a/c


95


97


(2) a/c



(a) 

Except for FTEs, data includes information related to third-party regional capacity purchase flying arrangements.

(b) 

See a reconciliation of this non-GAAP measure and Note A for a discussion of potential importance of this measure to investors in the accompanying pages.

(c) 

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

 

OPERATING SEGMENTS (unaudited)







Alaska Air Group, Inc.


























Three Months Ended December 31, 2019

(in millions)

Mainline


Regional


Horizon


Consolidating
& Other


Air Group
Adjusted(a)


Special
Items(b)


Consolidated

Operating revenues














Passenger revenue

1,711



346







2,057





2,057


CPA revenue





110



(110)








Mileage Plan other revenue

107



12







119





119


Cargo and other

49



1





2



52





52


Total Operating Revenues

1,867



359



110



(108)



2,228





2,228


Operating Expenses














Non-fuel operating expenses

1,233



280



99



(111)



1,501



5



1,506


Fuel expense

398



77







475



(5)



470


Total Operating Expenses

1,631



357



99



(111)



1,976





1,976


Non-operating income (expense)














Interest income

16







(5)



11





11


Interest expense

(18)





(6)



6



(18)





(18)


Interest capitalized

4









4





4


Other

(6)









(6)





(6)


Total Non-operating Income (Expense)

(4)





(6)



1



(9)





(9)


Income (loss) Before Income Tax

$

232



$

2



$

5



$

4



$

243



$



$

243

















Three Months Ended December 31, 2018

(in millions)

Mainline


Regional


Horizon


Consolidating
& Other


Air Group
Adjusted(a)


Special
Items(b)


Consolidated

Operating revenues














Passenger revenue

1,595



312







1,907





1,907


CPA revenues





133



(133)








Mileage Plan other revenue

96



9







105





105


Cargo and other

50



2







52





52


Total Operating Revenues

1,741



323



133



(133)



2,064





2,064


Operating Expenses














Non-fuel operating expenses

1,185



269



120



(135)



1,439



40



1,479


Fuel expense

415



72







487



52



539


Total Operating Expenses

1,600



341



120



(135)



1,926



92



2,018


Non-operating income (expense)














Interest income

14







(5)



9





9


Interest expense

(18)





(6)



4



(20)





(20)


Interest capitalized

4









4





4


Other

(3)









(3)





(3)


Total Non-operating Income (Expense)

(3)





(6)



(1)



(10)





(10)


Income (loss) Before Income Tax

$

138



$

(18)



$

7



$

1



$

128



$

(92)



$

36


 

OPERATING SEGMENTS (unaudited)







Alaska Air Group, Inc.



























Twelve Months Ended December 31, 2019

(in millions)

Mainline


Regional


Horizon


Consolidating
& Other


Air Group
Adjusted(a)


Special
Items(b)


Consolidated

Operating revenues














Passenger revenue

6,750



1,345







8,095





8,095


CPA revenue





450



(450)








Mileage Plan other revenue

419



46







465





465


Cargo and other

212



3



1



5



221





221


Total Operating Revenues

7,381



1,394



451



(445)



8,781





8,781


Operating Expenses














Non-fuel operating expenses

4,778



1,097



385



(464)



5,796



44



5,840


Fuel expense

1,589



295







1,884



(6)



1,878


Total Operating Expenses

6,367



1,392



385



(464)



7,680



38



7,718


Non-operating income (expense)














Interest income

66







(24)



42





42


Interest expense

(76)





(28)



26



(78)





(78)


Interest capitalized

15









15





15


Other

(26)









(26)





(26)


Total Non-operating Income (Expense)

(21)





(28)



2



(47)





(47)


Income (loss) Before Income Tax

$

993



$

2



$

38



$

21



$

1,054



$

(38)



$

1,016

















Twelve Months Ended December 31, 2018

(in millions)

Mainline


Regional


Horizon


Consolidating
& Other


Air Group
Adjusted(a)


Special
Items(b)


Consolidated

Operating revenues














Passenger revenue

6,474



1,157







7,631





7,631


CPA revenue





508



(508)








Mileage Plan other revenue

397



37







434





434


Cargo and other

192



3



4





199





199


Total Operating Revenues

7,063



1,197



512



(508)



8,264





8,264


Operating Expenses














Non-fuel operating expenses

4,577



1,024



465



(513)



5,553



132



5,685


Fuel expense

1,652



262







1,914



22



1,936


Total Operating Expenses

6,229



1,286



465



(513)



7,467



154



7,621


Non-operating income (expense)














Interest income

53







(15)



38





38


Interest expense

(82)





(22)



13



(91)





(91)


Interest capitalized

16





2





18





18


Other

(12)



(11)







(23)





(23)


Total Non-operating Income (Expense)

(25)



(11)



(20)



(2)



(58)





(58)


Income (loss) Before Income Tax

$

809



$

(100)



$

27



$

3



$

739



$

(154)



$

585




(a) 

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

(b) 

Includes merger-related costs, mark-to-market fuel-hedge accounting charges, special charges associated with the employee tax reform bonus paid in Q1 2018, and a $20 million contract termination fee incurred in Q4 2018.

 

GAAP TO NON-GAAP RECONCILIATIONS (unaudited)

Alaska Air Group, Inc.    

CASM Excluding Fuel and Special Items Reconciliation (unaudited)










Three Months Ended December 31,


Twelve Months Ended December 31,

(in cents)

2019


2018


2019


2018

Consolidated:








Total operating expenses per ASM (CASM)

11.86

¢


12.55

¢


11.58

¢


11.66

¢

Less the following components:








Aircraft fuel, including hedging gains and losses

2.82



3.35



2.82



2.96


Special items - merger-related costs

0.03



0.13



0.06



0.13


Special items - other



0.12





0.07


CASM, excluding fuel and special items

9.01

¢


8.95

¢


8.70

¢


8.50

¢









Mainline:








Total operating expenses per ASM (CASM)

10.95

¢


11.70

¢


10.73

¢


10.78

¢

Less the following components:








Aircraft fuel, including hedging gains and losses

2.64



3.23



2.65



2.83


Special items - merger-related costs

0.04



0.14



0.08



0.14


Special items - other



0.13





0.08


CASM, excluding fuel and special items

8.27

¢


8.20

¢


8.00

¢


7.73

¢









Fuel Reconciliations (unaudited)

















Three Months Ended December 31,


2019


2018

(in millions, except for per gallon amounts)

Dollars


Cost/Gal


Dollars


Cost/Gal

Raw or "into-plane" fuel cost

$

471



$

2.19



$

488



$

2.35


Losses (gains) on settled hedges

4



0.02



(1)




Consolidated economic fuel expense

$

475



$

2.21



$

487



$

2.35


Mark-to-market fuel hedge adjustments

(5)



(0.03)



52



0.25


GAAP fuel expense

$

470



$

2.18



$

539



$

2.60


Fuel gallons

216





208













Twelve Months Ended December 31,


2019


2018

(in millions, except for per gallon amounts)

Dollars


Cost/Gal


Dollars


Cost/Gal

Raw or "into-plane" fuel cost

$

1,868



$

2.17



$

1,938



$

2.31


Losses (gains) on settled hedges

16



0.02



(24)



(0.03)


Consolidated economic fuel expense

$

1,884



$

2.19



$

1,914



$

2.28


Mark-to-market fuel hedge adjustments

(6)



(0.01)



22



0.03


GAAP fuel expense

$

1,878



$

2.18



$

1,936



$

2.31


Fuel gallons

862





839




 

Debt-to-capitalization, adjusted for aircraft operating leases


(in millions)

December 31, 2019


December 31, 2018

Long-term debt

$

1,264



$

1,617


Capitalized operating leases(a)

1,708



1,768


Adjusted debt

2,972



3,385


Shareholders' equity

4,331



3,751


Total Invested Capital

$

7,303



$

7,136






Debt-to-capitalization ratio, including operating leases

41%



47%




(a) 

Following the adoption of the new lease accounting standard on January 1, 2019, the ratio is calculated using the total capitalized Operating lease liability, whereas prior year periods were calculated utilizing the present value of aircraft lease payments. This change had no impact to the ratio.

 

Net adjusted debt to earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization, special items and rent

(in millions)

December 31, 2019

Adjusted debt

$

2,972


Current portion of long-term debt

235


Total adjusted debt

3,207


Less: Cash and marketable securities

(1,521)


Net adjusted debt

$

1,686




(in millions)

Year Ended December 31, 2019

GAAP Operating Income

$

1,063


Adjusted for:


Special items

44


Mark-to-market fuel hedge adjustments

(6)


Depreciation and amortization

423


Aircraft rent

331


EBITDAR

$

1,855


Net adjusted debt to EBITDAR

0.9x


Note A: Pursuant to Regulation G, we are providing reconciliations 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 (including merger-related costs, a one-time contract termination fee and an employee tax reform bonus) 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 run, 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, such as merger-related costs, 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, which covers the majority of 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 merger-related costs and mark-to-market hedging adjustments, 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.

GLOSSARY OF TERMS

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

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 capitalized operating lease liabilities) 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

Free Cash Flow - total operating cash flow generated less cash paid for capital expenditures

Free Cash Flow Conversion - free cash flow as a percentage of adjusted net income

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, Airbus 320 and Airbus A321neo family jets and all associated revenues and costs

Net adjusted debt - long-term debt, including current portion, plus capitalized operating leases, less cash and marketable securities

Net adjusted debt to EBITDAR - represents net adjusted debt divided by EBITDAR (trailing twelve months earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization, special items and rent)

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, 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, 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

For further information: Media contact: Media Relations, (206) 304-0008, or Investor/analyst contact: Emily Halverson, Director, Investor Relations, (206) 392-5908