INDIANAPOLIS—(BUSINESS WIRE)—April 29, 2003—ATA Holdings Corp. (Nasdaq:ATAH), parent company of ATA Airlines, Inc., today reported a first quarter operating profit of $1.5 million and a loss to common shareholders of $11.4 million, or $0.97 per share (basic and diluted). This compares with an operating profit of $10.1 million and income available to common shareholders of $1.5 million, or $0.12 per share (diluted) in the first quarter of 2002. ATA ended the 2003 quarter with $160.6 million in unrestricted cash.
“In the first quarter, ATA began to realize the economic benefits of the action plan we developed last year to return our Company to profitability in spite of continued weakness in unit revenues. I am very encouraged by the operating profit, which clearly signals we are moving in the right direction. Our aircraft and crews are being more efficiently utilized and our non-fuel unit operating expenses have been reduced significantly. Plus, we have strengthened our brand recognition as a result of enrolling almost 200,000 passengers in our frequent flyer program. Despite this progress, we are still reporting a net loss today and, as I have said in two previous earnings releases, this is unacceptable. We still have work to do before we can report the financial results that will ensure our future,” said George Mikelsons, Chairman, CEO and President.
“The scheduled service revenue environment in the first quarter continued to be very challenging, due to the impact of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the movement of the Easter holiday to the second quarter, and our aggressive capacity growth. Scheduled service revenue per available seat mile (RASM) was down 7.8 percent. Even as our unit revenues fell, fuel prices were rising 41.6 percent—costing the Company an incremental $17.1 million based on price, net of $5.3 million in charter and scheduled service fuel escalation. Mitigating these two issues was our ability to more than double our flying for the military. Our military revenue (excluding fuel reimbursement) was up 109.2 percent as we provided increased airlift for the U.S. Military,” said Dave Wing, Executive Vice President and CFO.
“Strong demand for our military product helped us increase fleet-wide utilization by 14.6 percent. Increased utilization of our aircraft and crews, as well as a commitment by our employees to reduce costs in many areas allowed us to reduce our consolidated cost per available seat mile (CASM) by 5.4 percent to 7.04 cents. Based on our cost-control achievements to date, we have set our full-year CASM target to be below seven cents,” said Wing.
Total operating revenues for the first quarter of 2003 were $373.6 million, a 13.0 percent increase compared with 2002. Scheduled service revenues increased 17.5 percent to $244.8 million. Total charter service revenues increased 16.0 percent to $112.3 million. Total operating expenses increased 16.1 percent to $372.1 million.
System-wide revenue passenger miles (RPMs) increased 11.2 percent to 3.37 billion, and available seat miles (ASMs) increased 22.7 percent to 5.28 billion compared with 2002. Consolidated RASM was 7.07 cents in the first quarter of 2003, down 7.9 percent compared with 2002.
For ATA`s scheduled service, RPMs increased 23.0 percent to 2.68 billion, ASMs increased 27.3 percent to 3.85 billion, and passenger load factor decreased 2.5 points to 69.8 percent compared with 2002. Scheduled service yield declined 4.4 percent to 9.12 cents and RASM decreased 7.8 percent to 6.36 cents.
ATA Holdings Corp.`s first quarter earnings conference call will be webcast live today at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time at www.ata.com on ATA`s investor relations web page and will remain archived on the website for future reference. The Company also filed an 8-K today with additional information on the fleet plan and other statistics. To obtain this federal filing, please go to: www.sec.gov/cgi-bin/browse-edgar?action=getcompany&CIK=0000898904.
Now celebrating its 30th year of operation, ATA is the nation`s 10th largest passenger carrier based on revenue passenger miles. ATA operates significant scheduled service from Chicago-Midway and Indianapolis to more than 40 business and vacation destinations. To learn more about the Company, visit the website at www.ata.com.
Summary of Recent Events:
— ATA Holdings Corp. appointed David M. Wing as new Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.
— The Company changed the name of its principal subsidiary to ATA Airlines, Inc.
— ATA Airlines, Inc. announced new daily non-stop service from Chicago-Midway to Pittsburgh beginning June 1 and increased frequencies of flights to New York-LaGuardia from Chicago-Midway and Indianapolis—both beginning May 1.
— ATA launched new service and more frequencies from San Francisco to Cancun, Indianapolis and St. Petersburg/Tampa.
— The Federal Aviation Administration approved ATA Airlines, Inc. as the first commercial airline to operate in Chicago-Midway with lower visibility limits, using advanced aircraft technologies.
— ATA`s Anniversary Travel Awards Program reached a milestone of almost 200,000 registered members as of last week. Customer acceptance of ATA`s frequent flyer program has exceeded all expectations.
— The Company`s new, flexible travel policy allows customers to make changes to previously booked travel itineraries in the event of a “Code Red” alert or military conflict.