By Chase Hagl
Alaska Airlines Reports First Quarter Loss of $143 Million, Sees Second Quarter Strength
On Thursday, Alaska Airlines released its first quarter earnings for 2022, posting a net loss of $143 million for the quarter ending March 31. The Seattle-based carrier reported a loss of $1.14 per share, compared to a net loss of $131 million, or $1.05 per share in the first quarter of 2021 during a peak of new Covid-19 cases being reported.
During the fourth quarter of 2021, the airline reported net income of $18 million, or $0.14 per share. For the year, the company reported a net profit of $478 million, or $3.77 per share, made possible because of the federal Payroll Support Program that provided $914 million to the airline in the first half of 2021 due to the pandemic.
These results compare to a net loss for the fourth quarter and full year 2020 of $447 million, or $3.60 per share, and $1.3 billion, or $10.72 per share.
“Alaska has a proven track record and a resilient business model that delivers in good times and through challenging ones” said Alaska Airlines CEO Ben Minicucci. “March results were particularly strong, marked by our highest cash sales month in history and revenues that exceeded 2019 levels for the first time since the pandemic began. Our people are working hard to get our airline back to its pre-COVID size and to return to growth from there, all while delivering the operational excellence that we’re known for.”
On a positive note, as air travel continues to recover, Alaska Airlines increased advance bookings in both their leisure and business travel sectors, generating $287 million in operating cash flow for the first quarter. Alaska also ended the quarter with a debt-to-capitalization ratio of 50%, within their target range of 40% to 50%.
On average, the airline had a 78.6% load factor on flights in the first quarter of 2022, a 25% increase from the first three months of 2021.
A Positive Outlook
Looking forward, Alaska has plans to rapidly accelerate the transition of its mainline fleet to all-Boeing aircraft, consisting of different models of the Next Generation aircraft.
In an attempt to drive economic benefits through cost savings, the carrier introduced plans to transition the regional fleet of Horizon Air — its regional subsidiary — to all-Embraer jets by the end of 2023. The aircraft will offer operational simplicity and better fuel efficiency, according to the airline.
Alaska received nine Boeing 737-9 aircraft, bringing the total number of 737-9s in its fleet to 20. Additionally, the airline modified its Boeing aircraft order to include six firm orders and 41 options for the Boeing 737-10 in addition to 10 firm orders for the 737-8.
“While recovery in our industry is never linear, our caring and dedicated people and the strength of our competitive advantages position us for success no matter what challenges we face,” Minicucci said.
The carrier continues to look towards the future and is making significant strides in the search for success in the post-pandemic environment.