February 20, 2018
Not only does Ryanair keep on rolling, it seems to be gaining speed. Its full-year 2017 operating profit margin will almost certainly be the world’s best after every airline has reported. Ryan-like Wizz Air is also among the world’s profit leaders despite paying a lot more for fuel than last year. Korean Air and Asiana saw their China problem solved in Q4, and both received a lift from cargo and won appreciation.
Air Canada and WestJet are trying just about everything to compete against each other, and it’s working—for the moment. Spirit is delivering solid profits, although they aren’t Spirit-like. Meanwhile, fellow Scandinavian carriers Norwegian and Finnair likely have divergent views on 2017—one was glad to see it go, while the other likely wished it would never end.
February 7, 2018
With the bulk of U.S. airlines having now reported fourth quarter earnings, what has unfolded is largely a success story. 2017 wasn’t as good as 2015 or 2016, but it was generally good. Gone are the exhilarating margins of 25% and 27%. Instead we’re seeing healthy margins of 17% and 19%. Delta continues to set the pace for the Big Three. United continues to trail its peers, and that has led to some head-turning growth plans. American saw revenues surge in Dallas, Phoenix and its transatlantic market. Southwest overcame a fuel hedge reckoning to deliver strong results.
Alaska appears to be coming down to Earth. JetBlue, which saw some of its Caribbean markets decimated by hurricanes, nonetheless, had a good quarter. Allegiant delivered disappointing results by its standards, but the airline still bested all U.S. carriers that have reported in Q4. And while it continues to enjoy sunny results, Hawaiian may be facing more competition in 2018.