Spirit Plummets as Budget Airline Flies in Well Below Estimates

Spirit Airlines plummets after reporting a quarterly loss wider than analysts' expectations.
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Shares of Spirit Airlines  (SAVE) - Get Report nosedived after the budget carrier landed well short of the runway when it came to analysts' estimates for quarterly earnings and revenue as the coronavirus devastates air travel.

Spirit's stock price plummeted 14.72% to $9.85 a share after the Miami-based airline reported a loss of 86 cents a share during the first quarter of 2020, down markedly from the first three months of 2019, when the carrier posted earnings of 86 cents a share.

Spirit's earnings also fell well below the estimate of analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research, who had predicted a relatively narrower loss of 60 cents  share.

Spirit also landed short of the mark on revenue, reporting a total of $771.1 million for the quarter, dropping nearly 10% from the first quarter of 2019.

Analysts polled by Zacks had forecast $848.8 million in revenue for the first three months of 2020.

The budget airline also saw a big decline in a key metric, total operating revenue per available seat mile, or TRASM.

TRASM plunged 18.8% in the quarter amid a drop in the number of seats filled with passengers, according to Zacks.

In response to the dramatic drop-off in flight demand as governments ramped up travel restrictions to combat the spread of Covid-19, Spirit responded by slashing capacity 75% in April, and with plans to reduce capacity further by 95% in May and June.

"The health crisis, loss of demand, and corresponding economic impact caused by Covid-19 is unprecedented," said Ted Christie, Spirit's president and CEO, in a press statement.