Airline Financial Data

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1st Quarter 2016 Airline Financial Data

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Note: Baggage fee numbers in the text, Table 1 and Table 4 were revised on June 22, 2016. Numbers in the category of other revenue were also revised.

U.S. scheduled passenger airlines reported an after-tax net profit of $3.1 billion in the first quarter of 2016, down from $7.7 billion in the fourth quarter of 2015 and virtually unchanged from $3.1 billion in the first quarter of 2015, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s EmEdjimurjE (BTS) reported today (Table 1).

U.S. Scheduled Service Passenger Airlines Quarterly Net Income

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U.S. Scheduled Service Passenger Airlines Quarterly Net Income

The 25 U.S. scheduled service passenger airlines reported an after-tax net profit as a group for the 10th consecutive quarter.

In addition to the after-tax net profit of $3.1 billion based on reports, the scheduled service passenger airlines reported a $5.6 billion pre-tax operating profit in the first quarter of 2016, down from $5.9 billion in the fourth quarter of 2015 and up from $5.1 billion in the first quarter of 2015. The airlines reported a pre-tax operating profit - as a group - for the 19th consecutive quarter (Tables 1, 3).

Net income and operating profit or loss are two different measures of airline financial performance. Net income or loss may include non-operating income and expenses, nonrecurring items or income taxes. Operating profit or loss is calculated from operating revenues and expenses before taxes and other nonrecurring items.

Total for all U.S. passenger airlines in the January-March first-quarter of 2016 was $39.0 billion. Airlines collected $28.9 billion from fares, 74.2 percent of total first-quarter operating revenue (Table 4).

Total operating expenses for all passenger airlines in the first-quarter of 2016 were $33.4 billion, of which fuel costs accounted for $5.4 billion, or 16.1 percent, and labor costs accounted for $11.3 billion, or 34.0 percent (Table 4).

In the first quarter, passenger airlines collected a total of $975 million in baggage fees, 2.5 percent of total operating revenue, and $745 million from reservation change fees, 1.9 percent of total operating revenue. Fees are included for calculations of net income, operating revenue and operating profit or loss (Table 4).

Baggage fees and reservation change fees are the only ancillary fees paid by passengers that are reported to BTS as separate items. Other fees, such as revenue from seating assignments and on-board sales of food, beverages, pillows, blankets, and entertainment are combined in different categories and cannot be identified separately.

See airline financial data press releases and the  for historic data.

Totals for Scheduled Passenger Airlines with the Highest Operating Revenue

As a group, the 10 U.S. scheduled passenger airlines with the highest operating revenue in the first quarter of 2016 reported an after-tax net profit of $3.1 billion in the first quarter of 2016, down from a profit of $7.4 billion in the fourth quarter of 2015 and up from a profit of $2.9 billion in the first quarter of 2015 (Table 2). These airlines carried 82.5 percent of U.S. airlines’ in the first quarter and accounted for 99.9 percent of the scheduled passenger airline after-tax net profit (Table 2). 

In addition to the after-tax net income reports, the 10 airlines reported a $5.4 billion pre-tax operating profit in the first quarter of 2016, down from a profit of $5.8 billion in the fourth quarter and up from a $4.9 billion pre-tax operating profit in the first quarter of 2015 (Table 3).

Margins for All Scheduled Passenger Airlines

All U.S. scheduled passenger airlines reported a combined net income margin of 7.8 percent in the first quarter of 2016, down from a net margin of 7.9 percent in the first quarter of 2015. Net margin is the net income or loss as a percentage of operating revenue. These airlines reported an operating profit margin of 14.4 percent in the first quarter of 2016, up from 13.0 percent in the first quarter of 2015. Operating margin is the operating profit or loss as a percentage of operating revenue (Table 4).

Reporting notes

Additional airline financial data can be found on the BTS website, including industry statistics for other individual low-cost and regional airlines. See tables for , and . See the BTS for more detailed data.

By regulation, for the quarter ending March 31, airlines that operate at least one aircraft that has more than 60 seats or the capacity to carry a payload of passengers, cargo and fuel weighing more than 18,000 pounds must report financial data to BTS by May 10. The airline filings are subject to a process of quality assurance and data validations before release to the public.

Revised carrier data and late data filings will be made available monthly on on the Monday following the second Tuesday of the month. All data are subject to revision. BTS will release second-quarter 2016 data on Sept. 19.

Table 1. Quarterly U.S. Scheduled Service Passenger Airlines Financial Reports

Reports from 25 airlines in 1Q 2016

(Millions of dollars)

Note: 1Q 2016 baggage fee numbers in this table were revised on June 22, 2016.

 1Q 20152Q 20153Q 20154Q 20151Q 2016Dollar Change 1Q2015-1Q2016
Net Income3,1035,5159,2687,6983,056-47
Operating Profit/Loss5,0938,1558,8325,8945,608515
Operating Revenue*39,26743,94445,20140,34338,995-272
Fares29,51533,24934,09029,97628,942-573
Baggage Fees8709621,019958975105
Reservation Change Fees762773755715745-17
Operating Expenses34,17435,78836,37034,44933,387-787
Fuel6,8987,9267,0715,8175,379-1,519
Labor10,63510,96911,86811,44911,333698

Source: EmEdjimurjE, Form 41; Schedules P1.2 and P6

* Passenger airline operating revenue includes two other categories. 1) Transport-related is revenue from services which grow from and are incidental to the air transportation services performed by the air carrier. Examples are in-flight onboard sales (food, liquor, pillows, etc), code share revenues, revenues from associated businesses (aircraft maintenance, fuel sales, restaurants, vending machines, etc). 2) Miscellaneous operating revenue includes pet transportation, sale of frequent flyer award miles to airline business partners and standby passenger fees. See the P1.2 database .

Note: 4Q2014 Reservation Change fee numbers were revised subsequent to public release at 11 a.m. on May 2, 2016.

Table 2. Quarterly Large Airline Systemwide (Domestic + International) Net Income

Ranked by 1Q 2016 Operating Revenue

(millions of dollars)

RankAirline1Q 20152Q 20153Q 20154Q 20151Q 2016Dollar Change 1Q2015-1Q2016
1AA-US Combined8081,4651,7224,552710-98
 American5691,0521,7224,552710141
 US Airways239414N/AN/AN/AN/A
2Delta7451,4901,319988955211
3United5091,1934,776824314-195
4Southwest45360858453651158
5JetBlue13715219819019962
6Alaska14522826818718540
7Hawaiian335071395320
8Spirit69801037968-1
9SkyWest173137282811
10Frontier31542919398
10-Carrier Total2,9475,3529,1077,4413,063116
All Passenger Airlines3,1035,5159,2687,6983,056-46

Source: EmEdjimurjE, Form 41; Schedule P1.2

Note: American and US Airways began combined reporting with 3Q 2015 data. American’s numbers in this table include US Airways’ numbers reported separately from January through June 2015. For US Airways report, see Schedule P1.2 .

Table 3. Quarterly Large Airline Systemwide (Domestic + International) Operating Profit/Loss

Ranked by 1Q 2016 Operating Revenue

(millions of dollars)

RankAirline1Q
2015
2Q
2015
3Q
2015
4Q
2015
1Q
2016
Dollar Change 1Q2015-1Q2016
1AA-US Combined1,2021,9572,0031,0631,323122
 American7601,2062,0031,0631,323563
 US Airways441752N/AN/AN/AN/A
2Delta1,4042,4772,2221,7221,548144
3United7411,4461,9001,081649-91
4Southwest7801,0851,2251,026944164
5JetBlue244282350323349105
6Alaska23836243325829961
7Hawaiian72921561119523
8Spirit109112157120101-8
9SkyWest375968525215
10Frontier5088994062.1812
10-Carrier Total4,8777,9628,6125,7965,422546
All Passenger Airlines5,0938,1558,8325,8945,608515

Source: EmEdjimurjE, Form 41; Schedule P1.2

Note: American and US Airways began combined reporting with 3Q 2015 data. American’s numbers in this table include US Airways’ numbers reported separately from January through June 2015. For US Airways report, see Schedule P1.2 .

Table 4. Quarterly U.S. Scheduled Passenger Airlines Revenue, Expenses and Profits

Reports from 25 airlines in 1Q 2016

(millions of dollars)

Note: 1Q2016 baggage fee numbers and numbers in the category of other revenue in this table were revised on June 22, 2016.

 1Q 20151Q 2016Change2015-2016 % Change% of 1Q 2016 Revenue or Expense Total
Operating Revenue     
Passenger Fares (scheduled/charter)29,514.728,942.1-572.6-1.9474.22
Cargo742.8647.7-95.1-12.801.66
Baggage870.0974.5104.512.012.50
Reservation Changes762.2745.1-17.2-2.261.91
Transport-Related*6,340.56,457.9117.51.8516.56
Other**1,036.81,227.9191.118.433.15
Total Operating Revenue39,267.038,995.2-271.8-0.69100.00
Operating Expense     
Fuel6,897.75,379.2-1,518.5-22.0116.11
Labor10,635.411,333.0697.76.5633.94
Rentals2,128.82,188.359.52.806.55
Depreciation & Amortization1,834.01,982.7148.78.115.94
Landing Fees670.2687.317.22.562.06
Maintenance Materials667.9626.2-41.7-6.241.88
Transport-Related*4,480.54,258.1-222.4-4.9612.75
Other***6,859.56,932.573.01.0620.76
Total Operating Expense34,173.833,387.3-786.5-2.30100.00
Profits or Losses     
Operating Profit5,093.25,607.9514.710.11N/A
Operating Margin**** (%)13.014.41.4N/AN/A
Nonoperating Income/(Expense)#-864.3-899.0-34.74.01N/A
Pre-Tax Income4,228.84,708.9480.111.35N/A
Income Tax Benefit/(Expense)-1,126.1-1,652.5-526.446.75N/A
Other Income/(Expense)0.00.00.00.0N/A
Net Income3,102.83,056.4-46.3-1.49N/A
Net Margin## (%)7.97.8-0.1N/AN/A

Source: EmEdjimurjE, Form 41; Schedules P1.2 and P6

* Transport-Related is revenue/expenses from services which grow from and are incidental to the air transportation services performed by the air carrier. Examples are in-flight onboard sales (food, liquor, pillows, etc), code share revenues, revenues and expenses from associated businesses (aircraft maintenance, fuel sales, restaurants, vending machines, etc).

** Other revenue includes miscellaneous operating revenue (including pet transportation, sale of frequent flyer award miles to airline business partners and standby passenger fees) and public service revenues subsidy.

*** Other expense includes purchase of materials such as passenger food and other materials; and purchase of services such as advertising, communication, insurance, outside flight equipment maintenance, traffic commissions and other services.

**** Operating margin is the operating profit or loss as a percentage of operating revenue

# Nonoperating Income and Expense includes interest on long-term debt and capital leases, other interest expense, foreign exchange gains and losses, capital gains and losses and other income and expenses.

## Net margin is the net income or loss as a percentage of operating revenue.

Note: 4Q2014 Reservation Change fee numbers were revised subsequent to public release at 11 a.m. on May 2, 2016.

Updated: Friday, December 15, 2017
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