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Southwest Airlines (LUV) Traffic & Load Factor Rise in April

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Low-cost carrier Southwest Airlines Co. LUV posted an 8.4% rise in traffic (measured in Revenue Passenger Miles or RPMs) to around $11.23 billion in Apr 2017 from $10.35 billion a year ago. Meanwhile, Available Seat Miles (ASMs) inched up 7.6% to $13.37 billion from $12.42 billion in the same month last year. Load factor (the percentage of seats filled by passengers) increased 60 basis points (bps) to 84% in Apr 2017 as traffic growth outpaced capacity expansion.

On a year-to-date basis, Southwest Airlines witnessed a 4.7% % rise in RPMs to $40.57 billion. Also, ASMs rose 5.0% to $50.07 billion. As a result, the load factor decreased 30 bps to 81%. Additionally, passenger count in the first four months of 2017 rose 3.8% to $49.04 billion from $47.23 billion in the same period in 2016.

The company continues to expect second-quarter 2017 operating revenue per ASM (RASM) growth between 1% and 2% from the second quarter of 2016.

Southwest Airlines recently reported first-quarter 2017 financial numbers. The company reported lower-than-expected earnings and revenues in the first quarter. The carrier’s earnings per share (on an adjusted basis) of 61 cents missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 62 cents. Earnings also declined 30.68% year over year. Other airline heavyweights like United Continental Holdings UAL and Delta Air Lines DAL too reported year-over-year decline in first quarter earnings due to higher costs.

Southwest Airlines Company Price


Southwest Airlines Company Price | Southwest Airlines Company Quote

Zacks Rank & Key Pick

Southwest Airlines currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). A better-ranked stock in the airline space is Copa Holdings CPA, with a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Shares of Copa Holdings gained over 34% on a year-to-date basis.

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