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Alaska Air Group Reports Record Fourth Quarter And Full-Year Results; Announces Order For 15 Boeing 737 Aircraft


1/25/2011 4:58:25 AM

Highlights:


    • Record fourth-quarter net income excluding special items of $47.4 million, or $1.28 per diluted share, compared to $4.4 million, or $0.12 per diluted share, in the fourth quarter of 2009. This quarter's results compared to a First Call mean estimate of $1.02 per share.
    • Record full-year net income excluding special items of $262.6 million, or $7.14 per diluted share, compared to $88.7 million, or $2.45 per diluted share in 2009.
    • Net income for the fourth quarter under Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) of $64.8 million, or $1.75 per diluted share, compared to net income of $24.1 million, or $0.67 per diluted share, in 2009. Full year GAAP net income of $251.1, or $6.83 per diluted share, compared to net income of $121.6 million, or $3.36 per diluted share, in 2009.
    • Alaska Airlines orders 15 new Boeing 737 aircraft, including 13 B737-900ER (extended range) aircraft, for delivery in 2012 through 2014.
    • Alaska Airlines holds the No. 1 spot in U.S. Department of Transportation on-time performance among the 10 largest U.S. airlines for the last twelve months.
    • Air Group employees earn record incentive pay of $92 million.
    • Alaska Airlines contributes $100 million to its defined-benefit pension plans in December 2010, bringing the full-year total contribution to nearly $150 million for the second year in a row.
    • Alaska Airlines reaches a tentative agreement with its IAM-represented employees – including customer service agents, reservations agents, and certain clerical staff.
    • Horizon Air's mechanics and pilots ratify long-term labor contracts.
    • Air Group announces change in Horizon aircraft livery to retire Horizon external brand, and replace it with the Alaska brand including the recognizable Eskimo on the tail. Examples of the new livery can be found today at alaskaair.com/newsroom.
    • Horizon Air announces final transition to all-Q400 fleet in 2011.
    • Air Group had $1.2 billion in unrestricted cash and marketable securities at December 31, 2010. Adjusted debt-to-total capital ratio of 67% -- lowest leverage since 1999.
    • Over the last twelve months, Alaska earned recognition for the following:
      • In January 2011, awarded On-Time Performance Service Award among major North American Airlines by FlightStats.com.
      • In January 2011, named winner of the 2011 Airline Technology Leadership Award by Air Transport World.
      • Ranked "Highest in Customer Satisfaction Among Traditional Network Carriers" in 2010 by J.D. Power and Associates for the third year in a row.
      • In 2010, named the Top Performing Airline by Aviation Week.
      • Recognized in 2010 for having the "Best Loyalty Credit Card" in North America at the Frequent Traveler Awards.

 

 

Three months ended Dec. 31,

 

 

2010

 

2009

 

 

Dollars

Diluted EPS

 

Dollars

 

Diluted EPS

Net income and diluted EPS, excluding the item noted below:

$47.4

 

$1.28

 

$4.4

 

$0.12

Adjustments to reflect the timing of gain or loss recognition resulting from mark-to-market fuel-hedge accounting, net of tax

17.4

0.47

 

19.7

 

0.55

Reported GAAP amounts

$64.8

$1.75

 

$24.1

 

$0.67


 

 

Twelve months ended Dec. 31,

 

 

2010

 

2009

 

 

Dollars

Diluted EPS

 

Dollars

 

Diluted EPS

Net income and diluted EPS, excluding the items noted below:

$262.6

 

$7.14

 

$88.7

 

$2.45

New pilot contract transition costs, net of tax

---

---

 

(22.3)

 

(0.62)

Horizon restructuring charges and CRJ-700 fleet transition costs, net of tax

(8.2)

(0.22)

 

---

 

---

Adjustments to reflect the timing of gain or loss recognition resulting from mark-to-market
fuel-hedge accounting, net of tax

(3.3)

(0.09)

 

55.2

 

1.53

Reported GAAP amounts

$251.1

$6.83

 

$121.6

 

$3.36

Today Alaska Airlines is also announcing an order for 15 new Boeing 737 aircraft to be delivered in 2012 through 2014, including 13 new B737-900ER (extended range) aircraft, which will be new to the Alaska fleet.
“The 737-900ER will be a great addition to our next generation Boeing 737 fleet. It will improve our already best-in-class rating for fuel-efficiency,” said Alaska Airlines President Brad Tilden. “Depending on the ultimate configuration, the larger 737-900ER will have between 21 and 27 seats more than our existing B737-800 aircraft and will be a perfect fit for our longer-haul and high traffic West Coast markets.”

The following table outlines Alaska Airlines’ current delivery schedule giving consideration to this order announcement:

2011

2012

2013

2014

Total

 

 

Previously Committed:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boeing 737-800

3

4

2

2

11

 

 

 

 

Announced Today:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boeing 737-800

-

2

1

(1)

2

 

 

 

 

Boeing 737-900ER

-

-

6

7

13

 

 

 

 

New Order Sub-Total

-

2

7

6

15

 

 

 

 

Total Commitment

3

6

9

8

26

 

 

Planned Retirements

-

(3)

-

(5)

(8)

 

 

 

 

Current Growth Plan

3

3

9

3

18

 

 

Options

-

-

3

2

5

 

 

 

 

Potential Fleet Growth Plan

3

3

9-12

3-5

18 – 23

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Current Growth Plan (firm only)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ASMs:

8% - 9%

3%

6%

6%

 

 

 

 

 

Block Hours:

8%

3%

4.5%

3.5%

 

 

 

 

 

Because the company exceeded its financial and operational goals for the year, more than 12,000 Air Group employees have earned $92 million of incentive pay – the most it has ever paid. Virtually every employee will receive a performance-based bonus in excess of one month’s pay, on top of $1,050 to $1,200 per employee for meeting on-time and customer satisfaction goals during the year. In addition, Alaska Airlines made a voluntary supplemental contribution of $100 million to its defined-benefit pension plans, bringing the full-year total to almost $150 million and the two-year total to nearly $300 million, resulting in a funded status of 85% as of December 31, 2010. “Our generous incentive payout, combined with our commitment to fund our pension obligations, is consistent with our vision of sharing our success broadly with our employees,” Ayer said.
Financial and statistical data for Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air, as well as a reconciliation of the reported non-GAAP financial measures, can be found in the accompanying tables. A glossary of financial terms can be found on page 6 of this release.
A conference call regarding the fourth quarter 2010 results will be simulcast via the Internet at 8:30 a.m. Pacific time on Jan. 25, 2011. It can be accessed through the company’s Web site at alaskaair.com/investors. For those unable to listen to the live broadcast, a replay will be available after the conclusion of the call at alaskaair.com/investors.

References in this news release to “Air Group,” “company,” “we,” “us” and “our” refer to Alaska Air Group, Inc. and its subsidiaries, unless otherwise specified. Alaska Airlines, Inc. and Horizon Air Industries, Inc. are referred to as “Alaska” and “Horizon,” respectively, and together as our “airlines.”
This news release contains forward-looking statements subject to the safe harbor protection provided by Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, and the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements relate to future events and involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties that may cause actual outcomes to be materially different from those indicated by any forward-looking statements. For a comprehensive discussion of potential risk factors, see Item 1A of the company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended Dec. 31, 2009. Some of these risks include current economic conditions, increases in operating costs including fuel, competition, labor costs and relations, our significant indebtedness, inability to meet cost reduction goals, terrorist attacks, seasonal fluctuations in our financial results, an aircraft accident, changes in laws and regulations, and government fees and taxes. All of the forward-looking statements are qualified in their entirety by reference to the risk factors discussed therein. We operate in a continually changing business environment, and new risk factors emerge from time to time. Management cannot predict such new risk factors, nor can it assess the impact, if any, of such new risk factors on our business or events described in any forward-looking statements. We expressly disclaim any obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements after the date of this report to conform them to actual results. Over time, our actual results, performance or achievements will likely differ from the anticipated results, performance or achievements that are expressed or implied by our forward-looking statements, and such differences might be significant and materially adverse.


Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air, subsidiaries of Alaska Air Group (NYSE: ALK), together serve more than 90 cities through an expansive network in Alaska, the Lower 48, Hawaii, Canada and Mexico. Alaska Airlines ranked “Highest in Customer Satisfaction Among Traditional Network Carriers” in the J.D. Power and Associates 2008, 2009 and 2010 North America Airline Satisfaction StudiesSM. For reservations, visit alaskaair.com. For more news and information, visit the Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air Newsroom at alaskaair.com/newsroom.

Glossary of Financial Terms

ASM - available seat miles, or “capacity” – represents total seats available across the fleet multiplied by the number of miles flown

RPM – revenue passenger miles, or “traffic” – the number of those available seats that were filled with paying passengers; one passenger traveling one mile is one RPM

RASM - total operating revenue divided by ASMs; operating revenue includes all passenger revenue, freight & mail, Mileage Plan, and other ancillary revenue; commonly called “unit revenue” and represents the average total revenue for flying one seat one mile

PRASM – passenger revenue per ASM; commonly called “passenger unit revenue”

Yield – passenger revenue per RPM; this represents the average revenue for flying one passenger one mile

CASM – total operating costs per ASM; this represents all operating expenses including fuel and special items; commonly called “unit cost”

CASMex – operating costs excluding fuel and special items per ASM; this metric is used to help track progress toward reduction of non-fuel operating costs since fuel is largely out of our control

Economic fuel – best estimate of the cash cost of fuel, net of the impact of our fuel-hedging program

Mainline – represents flying on Alaska jets and all associated revenues and costs

Purchased Capacity Flying – represents operations whereby Horizon and, to a much lesser extent, another small carrier in the state of Alaska fly certain routes for Alaska using Horizon’s or the other carrier’s fleets

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