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Hawaiian loses $11.9M


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POSTED: Thursday, February 19, 2009

Hawaiian Airlines said yesterday that a decline in demand for air travel as well as $29.1 million in impairment charges and fuel-hedge expenses contributed to a net loss in its fourth quarter of $11.9 million, or 23 cents a diluted share, compared to a profit of $3.3 million, or 7 cents a diluted share, a year ago.

               

     

 

Fourth-quarter loss

$11.9 million

       

Year-earlier net

       

$3.3 million

       

The average estimate of three analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters was a profit of 10 cents a share.

On Tuesday, Mesa Air Group's go! posted its first profit of $500,000 for its fiscal first quarter after 10 consecutive losing quarters.

“;While we wouldn't describe the revenue environment as robust by any stretch, the worst of our fears were not realized,”; Mark Dunkerley, Hawaiian's president and chief executive officer, said in a conference call after the market closed.

Dunkerley said the carrier has been encouraged by trends in January and February, but expects a more challenging period in March, due in part to the later timing of Easter this year.

While visitor arrivals to the state declined “;sharply”; in the later part of this year, he said, air capacity also has declined after the spring shutdown of Aloha and ATA airlines. Hawaiian, which in January brought in its fourth and final Boeing 717 aircraft acquired since the carriers shut down, said it has no plans to increase its fleet size this year.

Hawaiian's revenue for the quarter ended Dec. 31 was $300.5 million, up 19.7 percent from revenue of $250.7 million last year.

Yesterday's quarterly net loss was Hawaiian's second for the year. In the first quarter ended March 31, the company reported a loss of $19.9 million, or 42 cents a basic and diluted share, on record fuel prices and excess capacity.

In the fourth quarter, Hawaiian recorded a $21.3 million non-operating expense related to losses on its fuel hedges. It also took a $7.8 million non-cash charge from an impairment of its auction-rate securities.

“;When fuel prices rise, we will have a degree of upside protection, and when they fall, as they have in the back half of 2008, we will recognize losses on our hedged positions,”; Dunkerley said on the call.

Aircraft fuel costs decreased 9.7 percent in the fourth quarter from last year to $78.9 million and represented 30.1 percent of operating expenses.

For the full year, Hawaiian reported a profit of $28.6 million, or 57 cents a diluted share, up from $7.1 million, or 15 cents a diluted share, a year ago.

Without a $52.5 million litigation settlement from Mesa in 2008, the airline would have recorded $700,000 in pre-tax income for the year when accounting for $24.6 million in income tax expense.

Revenue for 2008 was $1.2 billion, up from $982.6 million from 2007.

Overall capacity for the quarter increased 1.9 percent from last year to 2.4 billion available seat miles, or one seat transported one mile, for revenue per average seat mile of 12.55 cents, up 17.8 percent from 10.66 cents a year ago.

Fourth-quarter load factor decreased to 80.4 percent from 86.8 percent a year ago. Passenger yield, or passenger revenue per revenue passenger mile, increased 23.5 percent to 13.96 cents from 11.31 cents in 2007.

Trans-Pacific load factor declined by 4.5 percentage points in the quarter, with bookings on those routes also being made closer to the date of travel. Interisland load factor declined 6.2 percentage points.