Alaska Air Group Reports Record First Quarter 2014 Results

4/25/2014 4:59 a.m.

Financial Highlights:

Reported record first quarter net income, excluding special items, of $89 million, or $1.28 per diluted share, compared to adjusted net income of $44 million, or $0.62 per diluted share in the prior-year quarter. This quarter's results compare to a First Call analyst consensus estimate of $1.24 per share.

Recorded net income for the first quarter under Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) of $94 million or $1.35 per diluted share, compared to net income of $37 million, or $0.51 per diluted share in 2013.

Reported record adjusted pretax margin for the first quarter of 11.8%.

Achieved trailing 12-month return on invested capital of 14.8% compared to 13.4% in the 12 months ended March 31, 2013.

Paid a $0.25 per-share quarterly cash dividend on March 11 totaling $17 million. This is a 25% increase from the previous cash dividend payment of $0.20 per-share.

Repurchased 352,851 shares of common stock for $30 million in the first quarter of 2014.

Lowered adjusted debt-to-total-capitalization ratio by 3%, to 32%, from December 31, 2013.

Held $1.4 billion in unrestricted cash and marketable securities as of March 31, 2014.

Operational Highlights:

Held the No. 1 spot in U.S. Department of Transportation on-time performance among the 9 largest U.S. airlines for the twelve months ended February 2014.

Named No. 1 on-time carrier in North America for the fourth year in a row from FlightStats in February 2014. For 2013, Alaska Airlines had the best on-time departure and on-time arrival statistics, which were approximately three points higher than the second place airlines in both categories.

Launched online self-tag baggage options for passengers flying from Seattle to San Diego, Anchorage, or Juneau with plans to launch at other airports later in the summer.

Reached agreement on a five-year contract with 2,500 clerical, office and passenger service employees at Alaska Airlines, represented by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.

Reached agreement on a four-year contract with Horizon Air dispatchers, represented by the Transport Workers Union.

Began Bombardier Q-400 service from Anchorage to Fairbanks and Kodiak in the state of Alaska, operated by Horizon Air.

Announced service to New Orleans, Tampa, Fla., Detroit, Baltimore, and Albuquerque, N.M., from Seattle, as well as service to Kalispell, Mont., from Portland, Ore.

Filed an application to begin seasonal nonstop service between Seattle and Cancun, Mexico.

SEATTLE Alaska Air Group, Inc., (NYSE: ALK) today reported first quarter 2014 GAAP net income of $94 million, or $1.35 per diluted share, compared to $37 million, or $0.51 per diluted share in the first quarter of 2013. Excluding the impact of mark-to-market fuel hedge adjustments of $8 million ($5 million after tax, or $0.07 per diluted share), the company reported record adjusted net income of $89 million, or $1.28 per diluted share, compared to adjusted net income of $44 million, or $0.62 per diluted share, in 2013.

"Our record first quarter results reflect strong demand for our service and the efforts we've taken to improve the value we bring to our customers," CEO Brad Tilden said. "Our solid foundation of award-winning service, excellent operational performance, low costs and low fares, and the best employees in the business will help us sustain our success in the face of increasing competition."

The following table reconciles the company's reported GAAP net income and earnings per diluted share (EPS) during the first quarters of 2014 and 2013 to adjusted amounts:

Three Months Ended March 31,

2014

2013

(in millions, except per share amounts)

Dollars

Diluted EPS

Dollars

Diluted EPS

Reported GAAP net income

$94

$1.35

$37

$0.51

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

(5)

(0.07)

7

0.11

Non-GAAP adjusted income and per-share amounts

$89

$1.28

$44

$0.62



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 first quarter results will be simulcast via the Internet at 8:00 a.m. Pacific time on April 25, 2014. 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. 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, 2013. 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 nearly 100 cities through an expansive network in Alaska, the Lower 48, Hawaii, Canada and Mexico. For reservations, visit www.alaskaair.com. For more news and information, visit the Alaska Airlines Newsroom at www.alaskaair.com/newsroom.

View First Quarter Financial Results

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