SkyWest, Inc.’s SKYW second-quarter earnings per share came in at $1.43, well above the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.23. Also, the bottom line expanded 50.5% on a year-over-year basis. A lower effective tax rate boosted the bottom line.

Quarterly revenues came in at $805.5 million, marginally beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $804.8 million. The top line benefited from the company’s improved fleet mix.

In fact, SkyWest’s efforts to modernize its fleet and streamline operations are very impressive. The company aims to reduce the 50-seat jets in its fleet and add new E175 aircraft. To this end, this St. George, Utah-based carrier reported a decline in block hours (a measure of aircraft utilization) in the second quarter of 2018. The carrier reported a 6% decrease in block hours in the reported quarter. While departures declined 8.8%, load factor (% of seats filled by passengers) increased 10 basis points to 81.9%.

In a bid to modernize its fleet, the carrier has added 23 new E175 planes to its fleet and removed multiple unproductive/less-profitable aircraft from its fleet since the second quarter of 2017.

The effective tax rate in the quarter under review declined to 23% from 38% a year-ago mainly owing to the new tax law (Tax Cuts and Jobs Act). Operating expenses, declined 0.9% to $678.8 million.  Lower aircraft maintenance and repair costs contributed to the decline. Average fuel cost per gallon, however, increased 36.3% year over year to $2.63 in the quarter.

SkyWest, Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise


SkyWest, Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise | SkyWest, Inc. Quote

This Zacks Rank #4 (Sell) carrier exited the quarter with cash and marketable securities of $649 million, up 0.6% sequentially. Total debt increased to $3 billion from $2.8 billion in the first quarter of 2018.

You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Upcoming Releases

Investors interested in the broader Transportation sector are keenly awaiting second-quarter earnings reports from key players, namely C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc. CHRW , Expeditors International of Washington, Inc. EXPD and Air Lease Corporation AL . While C.H. Robinson will report second-quarter earnings on Jul 31, Expeditors and Air Lease will release the same on Aug 7 and Aug 9, respectively.

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