On Jan. 10, Alaska Air Group Inc. (ALK) released its December and 2016 traffic results. These results are the first ones released since the airline closed on its acquisition of Virgin America on Dec. 14.
Alaska Air Group comprises various airline subsidiaries. These subsidiaries are Alaska Airlines, Virgin America, Horizon Air, SkyWest Airlines and PenAir. The latter three are referred to as the regional airlines.
For the group as a whole, December’s number of revenue passengers increased 4.4 percent. This increase bumped the number of paying passengers from 3.36 million to 3.5 million. For the full year, Alaska Air Group flew 41.95 million passengers, a 7.8 percent increase over 2015.
Revenue passenger miles increased by 5.6 percent in December 2016 and by 10.8 percent in 2016. Available seat miles increased by similar amounts over both periods. (See also: Virgin America Reports November Results Ahead of Acquisition by Alaska Airlines.)
Passenger load factor at Alaska Air Group increased by 0.5 points in December 2016 and by 0.4 points in 2016. Passenger load factor represents the ratio between the number of available seat miles and the number of revenue passenger miles. In December 2016, Alaska Air Group had a passenger load factor of 83.1 percent. In 2016, that factor was 84.1 percent.
At Alaska Airlines, in December 2016, the number of revenue passengers was up 4.4 percent and revenue passenger miles were up 4.2 percent. A slighter increase in available seat miles led to a 1.4 point increase in the airline’s passenger load factor.
For the year, Alaska Airlines boosted its key metrics by six to eight percent and increased its passenger load factor by 0.4 points.
In December 2016, Virgin America increased its number of revenue passengers by 7.3 percent and its revenue passenger miles by nine percent. A hefty 11 percent increase in available seat miles dropped the airline’s load factor by 1.4 points. (See also: Alaska Air-Virgin America Merger Approved.)
For 2016 as a whole, Virgin increased its key metrics by 14 to 16 percent and increased its passenger load factor by 1.3 points.
Finally, Alaska Air’s regional airlines increased their number of revenue passengers by two percent, their revenue passenger miles by 8.5 percent and their available seat miles by 8.2 percent in December 2016. Passenger load factor increased by 0.2 points.
The regional airlines’s 2016 numbers show a 4.8 percent increase in number of revenue passengers, a 14.9 percent increase in revenue passenger miles, a 16.5 percent increase in available seat miles and a passenger load factor decrease of 1.1 points.
Alaska Air’s stock price opened up 1.1 percent on Jan. 10 and had climbed 5.46 percent higher by midday.