Southwest Airlines (LUV - Get Report) is on track for another quarter of strong earnings, even as it continues to deal with the ongoing impact of the Boeing (BA - Get Report) MAX groundings, which have forced it and other airlines to load passengers onto other types of planes, and the recent impact of Hurricane Dorian.
In an 8-K Securities and Exchange Commission filing on Wednesday, the airline said it continues to benefit from strong passenger demand, with the company on track to see operating revenue per available seat mile increase in the range of 3% to 5% in its third quarter.
The airline also said it expects to see a drop in its third-quarter operating costs per available seat mile (CASM), "... primarily due to the shifting of maintenance and technology expenses from third quarter into fourth quarter 2019, and continued cost control."
Southwest now expects its CASM to increase in the range of 8% to 10% year over year, down from its previous guidance of a year-over-year increase in the range of 9% to 11%.
The majority of its year-over-year unit cost increase in third quarter 2019 is driven by lower third-quarter capacity as a result of the MAX groundings, though slightly higher fuel costs will also affect earnings, the company said.
Southwest now expects its third quarter year-over-year capacity to drop by about 3% vs. previous guidance of a year-over-year decrease in the range of 2% to 3%.
The carrier also said it canceled some 600 flights in this month due to Hurricane Dorian, though it expects the storm will have an "immaterial impact" on its third-quarter results.
Analysts polled by FactSet currently expect Southwest to report per-share earnings of $1.04 on revenue of $5.7 billion when the company announces its third-quarter results on October 24.
Shares of Southwest were up 0.39% at $55.92 in early trading on Wednesday.