Alaska Airlines, Allegiant Declined To Release Postings
surprises here, given the sorry state of the nation's airlines. The
Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics
announced Monday the six largest network airlines, as a group,
reported an operating loss margin of 6.3 percent in the second
quarter of 2008... a reversal from the second quarter of 2007 when
the group reported a 9.2 percent profit margin.
BTS, a part of the Research and Innovative Technology
Administration, reported four of the six reporting network
carriers, most of the industry's largest carriers, reported an
operating loss margin in the April-to-June period. Operating margin
measures profit or loss as a percentage of the airline's total
Network carrier Alaska Airlines, and low-cost carrier Allegiant
Airlines, both requested confidentiality for their second quarter
financial reports. The numbers are being withheld pending a
decision on their motions.
The six reporting network carriers spent 30.6 percent of their
operating expenses in the second quarter of 2008 on fuel, compared
to 12.8 percent five years earlier in the second quarter of
Those airlines' attempts to offset those costs, by collecting
more money from passengers, appear to have had middling results to
date. The total industry collected $182.6 million in excess baggage
fees in the second quarter of 2008, according to the BTS, up from
$122.3 million in the first quarter and $113.0 million in the
second quarter of 2007.
Those are startling jumps, certainly... but little more than a
drop in the pan against skyrocketing fuel costs. It may also be a
sign more passengers are opting to pack lighter, to avoid checked
The top three operating profits were reported by low-cost
carrier Spirit Airlines, and regional carriers Comair and Atlantic
Southeast Airlines. Network carriers American Airlines and US
Airways, and low-cost carrier Frontier Airlines, reported the worst
operating loss margins.