SkyWest, Inc. (SKYW)

Q1 20101Earnings Call

May 6, 2010 11:00 a.m. ET

Executives

Bradford Rich - EVP & CFO

Michael Kraupp - VP, Finance

Chip Childs - President & COO

Analysts

Helane Becker - Jesup & Lamont

Rob McAdoo - Avondale Partners

Glenn Engel - BofA Merrill Lynch

Michael Roarke - McAdams Wright Ragen

John O’Malley - Wedge Capital Management

Presentation

Operator

Good morning, and welcome to the SkyWest First Quarter 2010 Earnings Conference Call. All participants will be in listen-only mode. (Operator Instructions). After today's presentation, there will be an opportunity to ask questions. Please note that this event is being recorded.

I would like to turn the conference over to Bradford Rich, Executive Vice President and CFO. Please go ahead, sir.

Bradford Rich

Thank you, operator. Thank you to all of you for your interest this morning and for taking the time to join us. We got started just a couple of minutes late today as we noticed that we still had a lot of people trying to access the call just slightly after the hour. Before we get started today, I'd like to just introduce those who are with me today, and who will be participating on the call.

I have with me Chip Childs, the President and Chief Operating Officer of SkyWest Airlines. Brad Holt is also participating with us. Brad is the President and Chief Operating Officer of Atlantic Southeast Airlines. Michael Kraupp, our Vice President and Treasurer is also with us in participating this morning, that before we go any further I'll turn sometime to Mike to read our forward-looking statement.

Michael Kraupp

Okay. In addition to historical information, our release and conference call may contain forward-looking statements. SkyWest may from time-to-time make written or oral forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.

Such statements encompass SkyWest’s beliefs, expectations, hopes or intentions regarding future events. Words such as expects, intends, believes, anticipates, should, likely and similar expressions identify forward-looking statements. All forward-looking statements included in our release and conference call are made as of the date hereof and are based on the information available to SkyWest as of such date.

SkyWest assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking statement. Actual results will vary and may vary materially from those anticipated, estimated, projected or expected for a number of reasons.

Bradford Rich

Okay. Thank you, Mike. Obviously, the purpose of our call today is to provide a brief review and discussion of our first quarter 2010 financial and operating results. As I said earlier, we do sincerely appreciate your interest in SkyWest. We appreciate the support and relationships that we have throughout the industry with our partners, our suppliers and of course most importantly we appreciate all the men and women of the SkyWest Inc. companies and for their commitment and dedication to the success of the organization.

Now first of all, we'll begin by just reviewing the first quarter 2010 financial results. As you can see from the press release this morning, we reported operating revenues of $632.2 million for the quarter ended March 31st, 2010. That compares with $672.6 million in operating revenue for the same period last year. Our net income for the quarter was $15 million or $0.26 earnings per diluted shares. That compares with $9.4 million of net income and $0.16 in diluted earnings per share for the same period last year.

We're obviously very pleased with the quarter-over-quarter. We do however; recognize that the comparable which is the first quarter of 2009 was one of the most difficult quarters in recent history, which includes very difficult weather. It included large marketable securities, write-off to non-engine budget overruns.

Having said that, the first quarter of 2010 have not been without its challenges also, but in spite of them we've seen significant improvement in the current quarter and for that we're both. We're pleased and quite proud of.

Our operating revenues, I think most of you understand by now that fuel prices and the accounting for fuel have created significant volatility in the total operating revenues of the Company. The more meaningful comparison is to look at non-fuel operating revenue, which increased during the quarter by 7.6% to $577.1 million. That increase seems consistent with the increase in block hours of $6.0% and the increase in available seat miles of 9.9%.

Our non-fuel cost for ASM decreased during the quarter by 5.9% to $0.095. We're obviously pleased with this result directionally and it's similar to the 6.9% decrease in the December quarter. Again so directionally, we feel very good about the non-fuel cost per ASM. We recognize some of the decrease is due to the aircraft mix and flying more 700s than 900s, but we also continue to see productivity increases throughout the entire system.

Our non-engine maintenance expenses have decreased, which is been somewhat of an issue in previous quarters. From the release, you can see there are stock-based compensation has decreased primarily from some changes in our compensation programs, and the mix of performance-based cash awards versus equity compensation to our all employee groups.

Our common stock repurchases during the quarter have been somewhat minimal. Most of you have probably also seen this morning that we put out a press release indicating that our Board of Directors has authorized the repurchase up to another, an additional 5 million shares, which brings the total shares authorized for repurchase to a little over 7 million shares.

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