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1st Quarter 2015 Airline Financial Data

Press Release Number: 
BTS 30-15
Date: 
Monday, June 22, 2015
Media Contact: 
Dave Smallen, 202-366-5568

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U.S. scheduled passenger airlines reported an after-tax net profit of $3.1 billion in the first quarter of 2015, up from $241 million in the fourth quarter of 2014 and up from $507 million in the first quarter of 2014, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today (Table 1). 

U.S. Scheduled Service Passenger Airlines Net Income
1Q 2014-1Q 2015

Table Version | Excel

U.S. Scheduled Service Passenger Airlines Net Income1Q 2014-1Q 2015

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Schedule P1.2 http://www.transtats.bts.gov/Fields.asp?Table_ID=295

The 26 U.S. scheduled service passenger airlines reported an after-tax net profit as a group for the eighth consecutive quarter.

In addition to the after-tax net profit of $3.1 billion based on net income reports, the scheduled service passenger airlines reported a $5.1 billion pre-tax operating profit in the first quarter of 2015, up from $2.0 billion in the fourth quarter of 2014 and up from $1.7 billion in the first quarter of 2014. The airlines reported a pre-tax operating profit - as a group - for the 16th consecutive quarter (Tables 1, 3).

Net income and operating profit or loss are two different measures of airline financial performance. Net income or loss may include non-operating income and expenses, nonrecurring items or income taxes. Operating profit or loss is calculated from operating revenues and expenses before taxes and other nonrecurring items.

Total operating revenue for all U.S. passenger airlines in the January-March first-quarter of 2015 was $39.1 billion. Airlines collected $29.4 billion from fares, 75.2 percent of total first-quarter operating revenue (Table 4).

Total operating expenses for all passenger airlines in the first-quarter of 2015 were $34.0 billion, of which fuel costs accounted for $7.2 billion, or 21.1 percent, and labor costs accounted for $10.4 billion, or 30.4 percent (Table 4).

In the first quarter, passenger airlines collected a total of $864 million in baggage fees, 2.2 percent of total operating revenue, and $768 million from reservation change fees, 2.0 percent of total operating revenue. Fees are included for calculations of net income, operating revenue and operating profit or loss (Table 4).

Baggage fees and reservation change fees are the only ancillary fees paid by passengers that are reported to BTS as separate items. Other fees, such as revenue from seating assignments and on-board sales of food, beverages, pillows, blankets, and entertainment are combined in different categories and cannot be identified separately.

See airline financial data press releases and the airline financial databases  for historic data.

Totals for Scheduled Passenger Airlines with the Highest Operating Revenue

As a group, the 10 U.S. scheduled passenger airlines with the highest operating revenue in the first quarter of 2014 reported an after-tax net profit of $2.9 billion in the first quarter of 2015, up from a profit of $214 million in the fourth quarter of 2014 and up from a profit of $474 million in the first quarter of 2014 (Table 2). These airlines carried 80.1 percent of U.S. airlines’ scheduled service passengers in the first quarter and accounted for 93.2 percent of the scheduled passenger airline after-tax net profit (Table 2). 

In addition to the after-tax net income reports, the 10 airlines reported a $4.8 billion pre-tax operating profit in the first quarter of 2015, up from a profit of $1.9 billion in the fourth quarter and up from a $1.6 billion pre-tax operating profit in the first quarter of 2014 (Table 3). 

 Margins for All Scheduled Passenger Airlines

All U.S. scheduled passenger airlines reported a combined net income margin of 7.9 percent in the first quarter of 2015, up from a net margin of 1.3 percent in the first quarter of 2014. Net margin is the net income or loss as a percentage of operating revenue. These airlines reported an operating profit margin of 13.0 percent in the first quarter of 2015, up from 4.3 percent in the first quarter of 2014. Operating margin is the operating profit or loss as a percentage of operating revenue (Table 4).

Reporting notes

Additional airline financial data can be found on the BTS website, including industry statistics for other individual low-cost and regional airlines. See tables for operating profit/loss, operating revenue and fuel cost and consumption. See the BTS financial databases for more detailed data.

By regulation, for the quarter ending March 31, airlines that operate at least one aircraft that has more than 60 seats or the capacity to carry a payload of passengers, cargo and fuel weighing more than 18,000 pounds must report financial data to BTS by May 10. The airline filings are subject to a process of quality assurance and data validations before release to the public.

 Revised carrier data and late data filings will be made available monthly on TranStats on the Monday following the second Tuesday of the month. All data are subject to revision. BTS will release second-quarter 2015 data on Sept. 21.

 

Table 1. Quarterly U.S. Scheduled Service Passenger Airlines Financial Reports

Reports from 26 airlines in 1Q 2015

(Millions of dollars)

  1Q 2014 2Q 2014 3Q 2014 4Q 2014 1Q 2015 Dollar Change 1Q2014-1Q2015
Net Income 507 3,578 3,133 241 3,115 2,608
Operating Profit/Loss 1,658 5,499 5,477 1,971 5,096 3,438
Operating Revenue* 38,459 44,620 45,287 40,910 39,135 677
Fares 28,732 33,670 34,316 30,579 29,416 684
Baggage Fees 791 900 960 879 864 73
Reservation Change Fees 726 753 759 744 768 42
Operating Expenses 36,801 39,122 39,809 38,938 34,044 -2,757
Fuel 10,190 10,880 11,411 10,950 7,188 -3,003
Labor 9,729 10,294 10,482 10,265 10,366 637

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Form 41; Schedules P1.2 and P6

* Passenger airline operating revenue includes two other categories. 1) Transport-related is revenue from services which grow from and are incidental to the air transportation services performed by the air carrier. Examples are in-flight onboard sales (food, liquor, pillows, etc), code share revenues, revenues from associated businesses (aircraft maintenance, fuel sales, restaurants, vending machines, etc). 2) Miscellaneous operating revenue includes pet transportation, sale of frequent flyer award miles to airline business partners and standby passenger fees. See the P1.2 database http://www.transtats.bts.gov/Fields.asp?Table_ID=295.

 

Table 2. Quarterly Large Airline Systemwide (Domestic + International) Net Income

Ranked by 1Q 2015 Operating Revenue

(millions of dollars)

Rank Airline 1Q 2014 2Q 2014 3Q 2014 4Q 2014 1Q 2015 Dollar Change 1Q2014-1Q2015
1 Delta 218 807 362 -703 748 530
2 United -580 769 933 -9 509 1,089
3 American 401 265 466 178 569 168
4 Southwest 152 465 329 190 453 301
5 US Airways 126 605 490 261 239 113
6 JetBlue -1 231 79 87 137 138
7 Alaska 93 166 192 147 145 52
8 Hawaiian -3 30 38 15 33 36
9 Spirit 60 106 67 58 69 10
10 SkyWest 7 19 32 -11 17 10
10-Carrier Total 474 3,463 2,986 214 2,920 2,447
All Passenger Airlines 3,119 7,346 507 3,578 3,133 15

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Form 41; Schedule P1.2

 

Table 3. Quarterly Large Airline Systemwide (Domestic + International) Operating Profit/Loss

Ranked by 1Q 2015 Operating Revenue

(millions of dollars)

Rank Airline 1Q 2014 2Q 2014 3Q 2014 4Q 2014 1Q
2015
Dollar Change 1Q2014-1Q2015
1 Delta 672 1,616 1,409 -772 1,399 727
2 United -341 906 1,185 626 741 1,081
3 American 577 718 698 345 760 183
4 Southwest 215 775 614 620 780 565
5 US Airways 189 678 566 495 441 253
6 JetBlue 43 141 163 161 244 200
7 Alaska 147 257 314 240 238 91
8 Hawaiian 12 54 106 77 72 60
9 Spirit 60 105 100 90 109 49
10 SkyWest 21 42 64 -5 37 16
10-Carrier Total 1,596 5,292 5,219 1,877 4,821 3,225
All Passenger Airlines 1,658 5,499 5,477 1,971 5,092 3,434

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Form 41; Schedule P1.2

 

Table 4. Quarterly U.S. Scheduled Passenger Airlines Revenue, Expenses and Profits

Reports from 26 airlines in 1Q 2015

(millions of dollars)

  1Q 2014 1Q 2015 Change 2014-2015 % Change % of 1Q 2015 Revenue or Expense Total
Operating Revenue          
Passenger Fares (scheduled/charter) 28,731.6 29,415.7 684.1 2.38 75.16
Cargo 619.8 748.4 128.6 20.75 1.91
Baggage 791.0 863.8 72.8 9.20 2.21
Reservation Changes 725.8 768.0 42.2 5.81 1.96
Transport-Related* 6,522.4 6,348.0 -174.5 -2.67 16.22
Other** 983.3 991.5 8.2 0.83 2.53
Total Operating Revenue 38,373.9 39,135.3 761.4 1.98 100.00
Operating Expense          
Fuel 10,190.3 7,187.9 -3,002.4 -29.46 21.11
Labor 9,729.0 10,366.0 637.0 6.55 30.45
Rentals 2,140.6 2,069.8 -70.8 -3.31 6.08
Depreciation & Amortization 1,716.5 1,791.0 74.5 4.34 5.26
Landing Fees 643.2 655.7 12.5 1.94 1.93
Maintenance Materials 699.3 651.2 -48.1 -6.87 1.91
Transport-Related* 5,161.5 4,593.0 -568.5 -11.01 13.49
Other*** 6,520.9 6,729.5 208.6 3.20 19.77
Total Operating Expense 36,801.3 34,044.1 -2,757.2 -7.49 100.00
Profits or Losses          
Operating Profit 1,657.4 5,096.1 3,438.7 207.47 N/A
Operating Margin**** (%) 4.3 13.0 8.7 N/A N/A
Nonoperating Income/(Expense)# -869.8 -855.0 14.8 -1.71 N/A
Pre-Tax Income 787.7 4,236.6 3,448.9 437.87 N/A
Income Tax Benefit/(Expense) -280.7 -1,126.0 -845.3 301.12 N/A
Other Income/(Expense) 0.0 0.0 0.0 N/A N/A
Net Income 506.9 3,115.2 2,608.2 514.50 N/A
Net Margin## (%) 1.3 8.0 6.6 N/A N/A

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Form 41; Schedules P1.2 and P6

* Transport-Related is revenue/expenses from services which grow from and are incidental to the air transportation services performed by the air carrier. Examples are in-flight onboard sales (food, liquor, pillows, etc), code share revenues, revenues and expenses from associated businesses (aircraft maintenance, fuel sales, restaurants, vending machines, etc).

** Other revenue includes miscellaneous operating revenue (including pet transportation, sale of frequent flyer award miles to airline business partners and standby passenger fees) and public service revenues subsidy.

*** Other expense includes purchase of materials such as passenger food and other materials; and purchase of services such as advertising, communication, insurance, outside flight equipment maintenance, traffic commissions and other services.

**** Operating margin is the operating profit or loss as a percentage of operating revenue

# Nonoperating Income and Expense includes interest on long-term debt and capital leases, other interest expense, foreign exchange gains and losses, capital gains and losses and other income and expenses.

## Net margin is the net income or loss as a percentage of operating revenue.