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Alaska Air Q3 profit tops street view despite cost pressure

Earnings of Alaska Air Group (ALK) came in above analysts’ estimates in the third quarter helped by an increase in revenues, despite the high gasoline prices. Though the company’s shares picked up momentum soon after the report Thursday, they retreated as trading progressed.

Alaska Airlines third quarter 2018 Earnings Infographic
Alaska Air Group Q3 2018 Earnings Infographic

Reported profit dropped to $217 million or $1.75 per share from $259 million or $2.09 per share in the third quarter of 2017.  Earnings, adjusted for one-off items, were $1.91 per share, down from $2.18 per share last year but above analysts’ consensus estimate. The results also exceeded the company’s own expectation.

During the three-month period, total operating revenues advanced 5% annually to $2.21 billion, a tad above the Wall Street forecast.  Traffic grew 4.2% to about 14.39 billion, while capacity increased by 4.8% to 16.94 billion. The load factor was 84.4% during the period, down 0.5 point compared to last year.

So far this year, the Seattle, Washington-based aviation firm repurchased 582,942 shares of its common stock for about $37 million.

Total operating revenues advanced 5% annually to $2.21 billion, a tad about the Wall Street forecast

“In the nearly two years since our merger closed, we’ve now completed approximately 90 percent of our integration milestones. With that work now behind us, we are doubling down on what we do best – keeping fares low, delivering leading operational performance and offering top-rated customer service,” said CEO Brad Tilden.

The airline industry is passing through turbulent times due to rising oil prices and fierce competition, which continue to eat into their margins. Many leading players are struggling to maintain the quality of their service while keeping the fares low. The September quarter was particularly impacted by disruptions caused by the hurricane.

Earnings: Costs drag Alaska Air Group’s flight in Q2

Earlier today, American Airlines (AAL) reported a 49% fall in third-quarter earnings, hurt by higher expenses. Earnings, however, exceeded expectations, while revenues missed. Elsewhere, low-cost carrier Southwest Airlines (LUV) posted a 16% growth in adjusted earnings, aided by strong revenue growth and lower taxes.

Alaska Air Group shares traded lower in the early hours of Thursday’s session. The stock fell 17% since the beginning of the year and 8% over the past twelve months.

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