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Hawaiian Airlines Reports Lower Load Factor, Alters Q4 View

Zacks Equity Research

Hawaiian Holdings, Inc .’s HA wholly owned subsidiary Hawaiian Airlines reported traffic figures for December 2018. Simultaneously, the company has revised its fourth-quarter 2018 outlook pertaining to a few metrics.

Traffic

Traffic (measured in Revenue Passenger Miles or RPMs) increased 5.1% to 1.46 billion in the month. Available Seat Miles (ASMs) also climbed 5.6% to 1.74 billion in the period. Load factor (percentage of seats filled by passengers) contracted 40 basis points (bps) to 84% as traffic growth was outpaced by capacity expansion.

At the end of 2018, the carrier recorded a 5.5% rise in RPMs while ASMs rose 6.1%. As a result, load factor slipped 50 bps. While passenger count inched up 2.9% on a year-to-date basis, it dipped 1.9% in December.

Hawaiian Holdings, Inc. Price

Hawaiian Holdings, Inc. Price | Hawaiian Holdings, Inc. Quote


Q4 Guidance

For the fourth quarter of 2018, the carrier now anticipates operating revenue per ASM (RASM) to decline 3-4% year over year. Earlier, the metric was expected to decrease in the range of 3-5%. This slightly improved projection is owing to higher yields on the carrier’s international routes and a strong holiday traffic on its North America routes.

Additionally, the airline forecasts cost per ASM (CASM) excluding fuel to slide in the 1.5-2.5% band. Past outlook was a slip in the 1-3% range. Gallons of jet fuel consumed are now estimated to inch up 1.5-2% year over year. Previous view had called for an expansion of 0-2% in the metric.

With fuel prices having exhibited a downward trend for the most part of the fourth quarter, the carrier has trimmed its projection for the metric. Economic fuel cost per gallon is now anticipated to be approximately $2.20 compared with $2.20-$2.30 expected earlier.

Zacks Rank & Key Picks

Hawaiian Holdings carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in the broader Transportation sector are Azul AZUL, Spirit Airlines SAVE and ArcBest Corporation ARCB, each flaunting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here .

Shares of Azul, Spirit and ArcBest have gained 21.1%, 24.5% and 6%, respectively, in a year.

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