PHOENIX, July 22 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/—America West Holdings Corporation (NYSE: AWA), parent company of America West Airlines, Inc. and The Leisure Company, today reported a second quarter profit of $79.7 million and a diluted earnings per share of $2.02. For the same period a year ago, America West reported a net loss of $12.9 million, or $0.38 per share.
Second quarter 2003 results included an $81.3 million reimbursement payment for Sept. 11 security fees and $14.5 million of special charges for the closing of the airline`s Columbus, Ohio hub, the reduction in management, professional and administrative positions and the removal of three 737-200s from service. Excluding those special items, America West reported earnings of $12.9 million or $0.33 per diluted share.
“We are extremely pleased to report a profit in this quarter. These results are solid evidence that the transformation of America West Airlines has worked,” said W. Douglas Parker, chairman and chief executive officer. “In less than two years, we have separated ourselves from the ranks of struggling airlines and have joined a very small group of low-fare airlines that have been able to report profits despite the difficult economic times.
“We recognize, of course, that we are not done. The second quarter is historically our strongest and these financial results, while encouraging, fall well short of some of our previous second quarter earnings,” continued Parker. “We are however, extremely confident that we are on the right path. Our 12,000 fantastic employees are running a great airline, providing excellent customer service at great values and keeping our costs in check. So long as we continue to do these things, we believe America West is well- positioned to emerge from this economic downturn as an industry leader.”
Operating revenues for the quarter were $575.8 million, up 5.8 percent for the same period in 2002. Available seat miles (ASMs) increased 1.8 percent to 6.97 billion. Revenue passenger miles (RPMs) were a record 5.5 billion, up 6.0 percent from second quarter 2002, resulting in a record passenger load factor for the quarter of 78.9 percent, up from 75.8 in second quarter 2002. Passenger yields increased 0.1 percent to 9.79 cents, and passenger revenue per available seat mile (RASM) improved 4.2 percent to 7.72 cents.
“We`re particularly pleased with our unit revenue performance in the quarter. Our 4.2 percent increase in RASM well exceeded the industry average thanks to our great operations, our business-friendly pricing structure and some aggressive yield management in peak travel periods,” said Parker. “June was our strongest month with year-over-year improvement of 10.3 percent and we are happy to see this momentum has carried into the third quarter.”
Operating costs per available seat mile (CASM) for the second quarter 2003 excluding special charges decreased 1.3 percent to 7.70 cents. The average fuel price excluding tax was 81.7 cents per gallon compared to 70.5 cents per gallon in the second quarter of 2002. Excluding special charges and fuel, CASM decreased 4.0 percent to 6.46 cents.
America West completed the downsizing of its operation in Columbus, Ohio, during the quarter, reducing flights there from 49 daily departures to four flights a day to the airline`s Phoenix and Las Vegas hubs. The airline also eliminated approximately 250 management, professional and administrative positions, primarily at the company`s Tempe headquarters and other Phoenix- area locations.
America West`s cash and short-term investments totaled $465 million on June 30, of which $80 million is restricted. During the quarter, America West received a reimbursement payment of $81.3 million for Sept. 11 security fees. The payment is part of the aviation reimbursement provisions of the Emergency Wartime Supplemental Appropriations Act. The Act also suspends the previously mandated passenger and security segment fees from June through September 2003.
From April through June, the airline continued to achieve outstanding operating performance. During that period, 86.4 percent of flights arrived on time and only 0.3 percent of flights were cancelled, despite record load factors.