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Largest Airlines Report Larger Net Profit in 2nd-Quarter of 2013

Press Release Number: 
BTS 45-13
Date: 
Monday, September 30, 2013
Media Contact: 
Dave Smallen, 202-366-5568

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The largest scheduled passenger airlines reported a net profit of $2.1 billion in the second quarter of 2013, an increase from a profit of $700 million in the second quarter of 2012, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today in a release of preliminary data (Table 1). 

BTS, a part of the Department’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration, reported that the largest airlines carried 80.4 percent of U.S. airlines’ scheduled service passengers in the second quarter of 2013.  See Airline Financial Data Press Releases for historic data.

In addition to the Net Income reports (Table 1), the largest airlines reported a 9.0 percent pre-tax operating profit margin in the second quarter of 2013, up from a 6.0 percent profit margin in the second quarter of 2012 (Table 2). 

BTS is reporting numbers for Net Income or Loss as well as for Operating Profit or Loss. These 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.

The largest airlines achieved an operating profit margin - as a group - in each of the last nine quarters. Together, they posted a pre-tax profit of $3.5 billion in the second quarter (Table 2) in contrast to a net profit after taxes of $2.1 billion (Table 1).

Totals for All Scheduled Passenger Airlines

Total revenue for all passenger airlines in the second-quarter of 2013 was $41.2 billion. All U.S. passenger airlines collected a total of $871 million in baggage fees and $719 million from reservation change fees from April through June 2013. Fees are included for calculations of Net Income, Operating Revenue and Operating Profit or Loss.

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.

Total operating expenses for all passenger airlines in the second-quarter of 2013 were $37.5 billion, of which $10.9 billion, or 28.9 percent, was used for fuel costs. See the database for expense and fuel data.

The press release includes these additional tables for the 10 top carriers: Table 3, Unit Costs; Table 4, Unit Revenues; Table 5, Passenger Revenue Yield.

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

Data are compiled from quarterly financial and monthly traffic reports filed with BTS by commercial air carriers. Financial and traffic data include data received by BTS as of Sept. 4.  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 third-quarter 2013 data in December.

 

Table 1. Large Airline System (Domestic + International) Quarterly Net Income

Ranked by 2Q 2013 System Passengers

(Net income in millions of dollars)

2Q 2013 Passenger Rank Airline 2Q 2012 3Q 2012 4Q 2012 1Q 2013 2Q 2013
1 Delta -120.4 1,169.9 -20.4 6.8 688.7
2 Southwest* 228.3 16.1 78.3 58.5 224.0
3 United 369.6 -25.1 -574.3 -361.5 484.0
4 American -263.7 -256.9 270.8 -252.8 227.8
5 US Airways 321.5 263.3 46.7 69.0 325.0
6 ExpressJet -1.8 -0.4 -3.5 -15.4 -2.6
7 JetBlue 52.5 44.3 0.8 13.8 36.4
8 SkyWest 18.2 22.8 19.0 14.4 24.7
9 Alaska 66.0 160.7 38.1 33.9 102.2
11* American Eagle 30.0 15.7 -88.3 0.6 12.5
  10-Carrier Total 700.2 1,410.4 -232.8 -432.7 2,122.6

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

* Southwest Airlines and AirTran Airways began joint reporting of financial data in 2Q 2012. The airlines continued separate reporting of passenger data. AirTran ranked 10th in number of passengers enplaned but is not included because it did not report separate financial data.

 

Table 2. Large Airline System (Domestic + International) Quarterly Operating Profit/Loss Margin (In Percent)

Ranked by 2Q 2013 System Passengers

(Operating Profit/Loss as Percent of Total Operating Revenue)

2Q 2013 Passenger Rank Airline 2Q 2012 (%) 3Q 2012 (%) 4Q 2012 (%) 1Q 2013 (%) 2Q 2013 (%) 2nd Quarter 2013 Operating Profit/Loss $(Millions)
1 Delta 3.8 14.6 5.4 3.8 9.8 949
2 Southwest* 10.0 1.2 2.2 1.7 9.3 433
3 United 5.9 2.1 -5.1 -3.0 7.7 771
4 American 1.9 0.4 -0.1 0.8 7.4 478
5 US Airways 10.3 7.3 3.3 3.0 12.1 477
6 ExpressJet 0.9 1.1 0.0 -5.7 0.3 2
7 JetBlue 9.4 8.6 3.8 4.5 7.0 93
8 SkyWest 8.2 10.3 9.4 7.7 11.1 51
9 Alaska 15.8 18.7 7.8 7.3 15.1 189
11* American Eagle 9.1 8.7 5.7 3.0 4.2 13
  10-Carrier Total 6.0 6.4 1.2 1.3 9.0 3,456

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

* Southwest Airlines and AirTran Airways began joint reporting of financial data in 2Q 2012. The airlines continued separate reporting of passenger data. AirTran ranked 10th in number of passengers enplaned but is not included because it did not report separate financial data.

 

Table 3. Large Airline System (Domestic + International) Unit Costs

Ranked by 2Q 2013 System Passengers

(Operating Expenses per Available Seat Mile in cents)

2Q 2013 Passenger Rank Airline 2Q 2012 3Q 2012 4Q 2012 1Q 2013 2Q 2013 2nd Quarter 2013 Operating Expenses $(Millions)
1 Delta 18.1 15.6 17.3 17.7 16.7 8,767
2 Southwest* 12.5 15.4 13.1 13.0 12.3 4,210
3 United 16.6 17.0 18.2 18.0 16.8 9,232
4 American 16.5 16.4 15.8 16.2 15.4 5,959
5 US Airways 17.8 17.1 18.5 18.1 17.2 3,469
6 ExpressJet 8.4 7.4 7.2 7.6 6.9 374
7 JetBlue 11.6 11.2 11.6 12.2 11.6 1,241
8 SkyWest 10.9 9.4 9.5 9.6 8.9 412
9 Alaska 14.3 13.9 14.8 14.6 13.8 1,066
11* American Eagle 7.7 7.8 8.7 9.3 8.9 277
  10-Carrier Total 15.7 15.1 15.8 16.0 15.1 35,007

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Form 41; Schedule P1.2. T100; T2 Data

* Southwest Airlines and AirTran Airways began joint reporting of financial data in 2Q 2012. The airlines continued separate reporting of passenger data. AirTran ranked 10th in number of passengers enplaned but is not included because it did not report separate financial data.

 

Table 4. Large Airline System (Domestic + International) Unit Revenue

Ranked by 2Q 2013 System Passengers

(Operating Revenue per Available Seat Mile in cents)

2Q 2013 Passenger Rank Airline 2Q 2012 3Q 2012 4Q 2012 1Q 2013 2Q 2013 2nd Quarter 2013 Operating Revenue $(Millions)
1 Delta 18.9 18.2 18.2 18.4 18.5 9,716
2 Southwest* 13.9 15.6 13.4 13.2 13.6 4,643
3 United 17.6 17.4 17.3 17.5 18.2 10,003
4 American 16.8 16.5 15.8 16.3 16.6 6,437
5 US Airways 19.8 18.4 19.1 18.7 19.5 3,946
6 ExpressJet 8.4 7.5 7.2 7.2 6.9 376
7 JetBlue 12.8 12.2 12.1 12.8 12.4 1,334
8 SkyWest 11.8 10.5 10.5 10.4 10.0 463
9 Alaska 17.0 17.1 16.0 15.7 16.2 1,255
11* American Eagle 8.5 8.6 9.2 9.6 9.3 290
  10-Carrier Total 16.7 16.2 16.0 16.2 16.6 38,463

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Form 41; Schedule P1.2. T100; T2 Data

* Southwest Airlines and AirTran Airways began joint reporting of financial data in 2Q 2012. The airlines continued separate reporting of passenger data. AirTran ranked 10th in number of passengers enplaned but is not included because it did not report separate financial data.

 

Table 5. Large Airline System (Domestic + International) Passenger Revenue Yield

Ranked by 2Q 2013 System Passengers

(Passenger Revenue Per Revenue Passenger Mile)

2Q 2013 Passenger Rank Airline 2Q 2012 3Q 2012 4Q 2012 1Q 2013 2Q 2013 2nd Quarter 2013 Passenger Revenue $(Millions)
1 Delta 14.7 14.5 14.6 15.1 14.8 6,659
2 Southwest* 15.4 17.2 15.3 16.2 15.7 4,391
3 United 14.7 14.4 14.4 14.7 14.6 6,829
4 American 14.8 14.7 14.5 15.3 14.9 4,888
5 US Airways 14.7 13.6 13.9 14.0 14.6 2,527
6 ExpressJet 10.3 9.2 9.1 9.4 8.5 376
7 JetBlue 13.8 13.2 13.5 14.0 13.4 1,222
8 SkyWest 13.9 12.2 12.4 12.5 11.7 451
9 Alaska 13.9 14.0 13.2 13.0 13.4 901
11* American Eagle 10.4 10.7 11.2 12.0 10.9 260
  10-Carrier Total 14.6 14.1 14.3 14.7 14.5 28,504

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Form 41; Schedule P1.2. T100; T2 Data

* Southwest Airlines and AirTran Airways began joint reporting of financial data in 2Q 2012. The airlines continued separate reporting of passenger data. AirTran ranked 10th in number of passengers enplaned but is not included because it did not report separate financial data.