US Airways Group's CEO Discusses Q1 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

US Airways Group (LCC)

Q1 2012 Earnings Call

April 25, 2012 12:30 pm ET

Executives

Daniel Cravens -

William Douglas Parker - Executive Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, Chairman of Labor Committee, Chairman of US Airways and Director of AWA

Derek J. Kerr - Chief Financial officer, Chief Financial officer of America West Airlines Inc, Executive Vice President and Principal Accounting officer

J. Scott Kirby - President

Analysts

William J. Greene - Morgan Stanley, Research Division

Hunter K. Keay - Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., Inc., Research Division

Jamie N. Baker - JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division

Daniel McKenzie - Rodman & Renshaw, LLC, Research Division

Helane R. Becker - Dahlman Rose & Company, LLC, Research Division

Michael Linenberg - Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division

Glenn D. Engel - BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division

Raymond Neidl - Maxim Group LLC, Research Division

Unknown Analyst

David E. Fintzen - Barclays Capital, Research Division

Jeffrey A. Kauffman - Sterne Agee & Leach Inc., Research Division

Michael W. Derchin - CRT Capital Group LLC, Research Division

Presentation

Operator

Ladies and gentlemen, today, welcome to the US Airways First Quarter Earnings Conference Call. Today's conference is being recorded. [Operator Instructions] Now I would like to turn the conference over to your moderator, Director of Investor Relations, Mr. Daniel Cravens. Please go ahead, sir.

Daniel Cravens

Thanks, Peter, and thanks, everybody for joining us for the US Airways First Quarter 2012 Earnings Conference Call. In the room with us in Phoenix this morning are Doug Parker, our Chairman and CEO; Scott Kirby our President; and Derek Kerr, our Chief Financial Officer. Also in the room available for questions are -- is Elise Eberwein, our EVP of People and Communications.

Like we typically do, we're going to start with Doug, and he'll provide an overview of our first quarter financial results. Derek will then walk us through the details on the quarter, including our cost, liquidity and provide some color on our updated guidance. Scott will then follow with commentary on the revenue environment and our operational performance. And then after we hear from those comments, we will open the call for analyst questions and, lastly, questions from the media.

But before we begin, we must state that today's call does contain forward-looking statements, including statements concerning future revenues and fuel prices. These statements represent our predictions and expectations as to future events, but numerous risks and uncertainties could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected. Information about some of these risks and uncertainties can be found in our earnings press release that was issued this morning, our Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2012, and our 2011 Form 10-K.

In addition, we will be discussing certain non-GAAP financial measures this morning, such as net loss and CASM, excluding unusual items. A reconciliation of those numbers to the GAAP financial measures is also included in the earnings release, and that can be found on our website at usairways.com.

A webcast of this call is also available on our website and will be archived for approximately one month. The information that we're giving you on the call is as of today's date, and we undertake no obligation to update the information subsequently. Thanks, again, for joining us. And at this point, we'll turn the call over to Doug.

William Douglas Parker

Thank you, Dan, and thanks to everybody for being on. We announced this morning our first quarter net loss, excluding some special credits of $22 million. That compares very favorably to last year's net loss of $110 million. That improvement in earnings occurred despite a 13% increase in our fuel price per gallon and had fuel prices remained at the -- what we felt were quite high first short quarter for 2011 levels, our fuel expense would have been $133 million lower here in the first quarter of 2012.

So our earnings -- or loss was nearly $100 million lower than it was last year, even though fuel expense was $133 million higher. The reason for that improvement is strong revenue growth. Our revenues were up 10% year-over-year. That's driven by record load bankers, record yield, record unit revenues, that is passenger revenue per ASM. And Scott will talk about that in more detail in a minute.

We also -- the team also did an excellent job of controlling our nonfuel expense. Cost per ASM, excluding fuel, declined by 0.6% on a year-over-year basis, and Derek will talk more about that. And the credit for all this, of course, goes to the outstanding team we have at US Airways, who just continue to do an amazing job of taking care of our customers. We had our best first quarter ever and on-time performance and baggage handling and completion factor. So I want to conclude my comments by just thanking very much the 32,000 hardworking people at US Airways.

And with that, I will turn it over to Derek and then Scott.

Derek J. Kerr

Thanks, Doug. We just filed our first quarter 10-Q this morning, and in that Q, we reported a net loss, excluding net special credits of $22 million or a loss of $0.13 per diluted share. This compares favorably to the net loss, excluding special items of $110 million or $0.68 loss per share a year ago. On a GAAP basis, the company reported a net profit for the first quarter of $48 million or $0.28 per diluted share versus a net loss of $114 million or $0.71 loss per diluted share in the first quarter last year.

This quarter's results were once again impacted by the significant year-over-year increase in fuel prices. And as Doug said, if average fuel price had remained the same as first quarter 2011, the company's fuel expense would've been approximately $133 million lower.

The company did recognize $72 million of net special credits in the first quarter of 2012. This was principally a gain associated with the Delta slot transaction completed in December 2011. This transaction resulted in a gain of $147 million, all of which was deferred as of December 31, 2011, due to certain DOT restrictions on the operations of the slots. The gain on the transaction is being recognized, as these DOT restrictions lapse, so March 2012 and July 2012, so we recognize approximately $73 million of the gain in the first quarter, and we expect to recognize the remaining $74 million of gain in the third quarter of 2012.

For the quarter, total capacity was 21.1 billion ASMs, up 3% from 2011, primarily due to a higher year-over-year completion factor of approximately 3%. Thanks to the efforts of all of our team members, we, US Airways, achieved our best-ever, first quarter completion factor, on-time performance and mishandled bag ratio. Just tremendous performance by our operating group.

Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com