News Column

Spirit posts $37.7 million first-quarter profit

April 29, 2014

By Arlene Satchell, Sun Sentinel

April 29--Spirit Airlines reported first quarter net income of $37.7 million, or 51 cents a share, up from $30.6 million and 42 cents in the 2013 period, the Miramar-based carrier announced Tuesday.

Operating revenue in the quarter rose 18.2 percent to $438 million, the increase driven by growth in flight volume, the low-cost carrier said.

Spirit said it had 256 weather-related flight cancellations in the quarter, compared to 59 in the year ago period, which negatively impacted revenue.

"Our team did a great job serving our customers while overcoming the challenges caused by numerous severe winter storms and managing the new crew duty and rest rules, "said Ben Baldanza, Spirit's Chief Executive Officer. "Our solid operational and financial performance in the first quarter is a great start to the year and provides a firm foundation as we grow our business and bring our low fares to more people in more places."

During the period, revenue for each plane seat flown one mile -- an industry metric measuring profitability -- was 11.57 cents, down 2.4 percent versus a year ago, which was affected by Easter falling in April this year compared to March a year ago, Spirit said.

Still, passenger revenue -- or revenue from ticket sales -- increased 16 percent to $253.8 million, while non-ticket revenue climbed 21.5 percent to $184 million.

Spirit's average base fare per passenger segment in the quarter was $77.79 -- a decrease of 1.6 percent from last year, which it said reflects its commitment to offer low fares to customers. Meanwhile average non-ticket revenue from optional services such as carry-on bag fees and advance seating assignments rose 3 percent from a year ago to $56.41.

"We are going to continue to grow ancillary [revenue] and make as many things as optional as we can," Baldanza noted in an earnings call.

This year through March, Spirit is the No. 3 carrier at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport with 17.3 percent of passenger traffic behind JetBlue Airways' 18.8 percent and Southwest/Airtran's 18.5 percent, according to airport data.

Spirit's stock price slipped $2.21 or nearly 4 percent to $56.21 in early trading Tuesday., 954-356-4209 or Twitter@TheSatchreport.


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Source: South Florida Sun Sentinel (FL)

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