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SkyWest's (SKYW) Block Hours & Load Factor Rise in March

Zacks Equity Research

SkyWest, Inc. SKYW reported a 6.9% year-over-year increase in block hours (a measure of aircraft utilization) to 124,447 in March 2019. The carrier stated that the rise in block hours resulted from the addition of E175 and CRJ900 aircraft to its fleet since last March.

This regional carrier is focused on streamlining its operations. It aims to reduce the 50-seat jets in its fleet and add new E175 aircraft.

The company’s dual class aircraft (E175, CRJ900 and CRJ700) accounted for approximately 65.6% of the carrier’s total block-hour production for the month compared with approximately 59.3% a year ago.

SkyWest, Inc. Price

SkyWest, Inc. Price | SkyWest, Inc. Quote

Additionally, this St. George, UT-based company reported a 6.2% increase in block hours for the first three months of 2019. Load factor (percentage of seats filled with passengers) improved 10 basis points (bps) to 82.2% in March. Also, the number of departures and passenger count increased 7.1% and 10.5%, respectively, in the same month.

Notably, SkyWest completed the sale of ExpressJet Airlines to a third party on Jan 22 this year. Hence, the traffic report does not include ExpressJet in the year-ago period as well.

Zacks Rank & Other Key Picks

SkyWest carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Some other top-ranked stocks in the same space are Swire Pacific Ltd. SWRAY, Azul AZUL and LATAM Airlines Group LTM. While Swire Pacific sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Azul and LATAM Airlines hold a Zacks Rank #2. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Shares of Swire Pacific, Azul and LATAM Airlines have rallied more than 18%, 33% and 16%, respectively, in the past six months.

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