May 22, 2018
For the moment, WestJet is the more profitable carrier. But in recent years, Air Canada has closed the gap and, in the first quarter of 2018, we see signs that Air Canada—after years of giving chase—might overtake its long-dominant rival. Emirates appears to be emerging from its malaise, but can it return to its former glory? AirFrance/KLM continues to struggle with its unions.
Lufthansa had its best first quarter in a decade. And IAG, the airline group that includes British Airways, Iberia, Vueling, Aer Lingus and Level, continues to dazzle. However, IAG’s brilliance hasn’t proven alluring enough to capture more than 5% of Norwegian.
May 1, 2018
Revenues for U.S. carriers remained terrifically healthy in the first quarter, and everybody made money. But rising labor and fuel costs generally shrunk year-over-year profit margins. United, which continues to trail Delta and American in profitability, did a pretty good job of preserving its margin. Profits slid a bit more at American, but it was especially buoyant in Latin America, where AA is the leading U.S. carrier.
One airline that saw rather grisly margin deterioration was Alaska as fuel, labor and maintenance cost increases severely outpaced revenues. JetBlue and Spirit both did okay, but one was happier than the other. Southwest and Hawaiian posted handsome 12% margins in the off-peak quarter. Meanwhile, Allegiant was in a class by itself, posting a 19% first-quarter profit margin.