net ascends 10.7%
The gain comes despiteBy Russ Lynch
lagging Japanese traffic
Aloha Airlines Inc. lifted its first-quarter profit by 10.7 percent despite a 2.7 percent drop in revenues, according to its financial report filed at the Department of Transportation in Washington.
The interisland airline reported a profit of $1.96 million for the three months through March 31, up from a profit of $1.77 million in the year-earlier quarter.
A large part of the profit increase was because the airline was paying less for its fuel and buying less of it because it cut off some flights. Glenn R. Zander, president and chief executive of parent company Aloha Airgroup Inc., said the airline spent about $1 million less on fuel in the latest quarter than it did in the year-earlier period.
Reducing the number of flights because of a decline in tourist arrivals from Japan did cut into revenues but it also reduced the airline's costs, he said.
Aloha carried about 5 percent fewer passengers in the latest quarter compared with the 1998 quarter, Zander said, noting that there was a "continuing softness in Japanese traffic."
"It was a continuation of what we had started seeing last year," Zander said, but he added that traffic is improving.
"Starting in March and through April and May we're seeing numbers of passengers about equal to the prior year," he said. The capacity cutback from the end of the year was dropped by the end of February when Aloha went back to its full schedule of 182 flights a day, Zander said.
"It was quite a nice first quarter with a profit after taxes of about $2 million," he said. The year-earlier quarter had been strong too, showing a turnaround from a loss in 1997.
While first-quarter revenues of $57.4 million were down $1.6 million from $59 million in the 1998 first quarter, expenses were $1.3 million lower.
Aloha reported first-quarter operating costs of $54.9 million, down from $56.2 million in the year-earlier quarter.
Zander said Aloha will increase its service to 200 flights a day for the peak months of July and August.
Aloha, as a subsidiary of privately owned Aloha Airgroup, does not have to issue public statements about its financial results but it does have to file them with the federal government. The figures apply only to Aloha Airlines and not to Aloha Airgroup or Airgroup's other subsidiary, Island Air.