DENVER (July 29, 2004) - Frontier Airlines, Inc. (Nasdaq: FRNT) today
reported a net loss of $6.6 million, or $0.18 per diluted common share, for
the airline's fiscal first quarter ended June 30, 2004 compared to a net profit
of $10.9 million, or $0.36 per diluted common share, for the same period last
year. Included in the net loss for the quarter ended June 30, 2004 were the
following special items before the effect of income taxes; a loss of $489,000
on the sale of two Airbus A319 aircraft in a sale-leaseback transaction, a write
down of $388,000 of the carrying value of expendable Boeing 737 inventory, and
a $477,000 unrealized loss on hedging derivatives. These items net of income
taxes increased the net loss by $.02 per share. The Company's net income for
the quarter ended June 30, 2003 included $15.0 million received under the Appropriations
Act, aircraft lease exit costs of $686,000, and an unrealized gain on hedging
derivatives of $752,000. The net effect of these items, net of income taxes
and related profit sharing contributions, increased net income by $0.29 per
Chief Executive Officer's Comments
Frontier President and CEO Jeff Potter said, "We believe the quarter's
results largely reflect the impact of ongoing industry challenges, most notably
historically high fuel prices and the continuing depressed fare environment.
With no relief in sight in both of these areas, we recognize that our return
to profitability will only be achieved by continuing to focus on our strategies
of producing the very best product in the industry, while reducing our unit
costs. We made progress in both of these areas in the quarter. The continuing
positive customer response to our product was reflected in the 39 percent increase
in mainline traffic that outpaced 32 percent capacity growth for the quarter.
Our mainline unit costs excluding fuel declined 7.4 percent versus the same
period last year.
"Our expansion during the quarter included our continued focus on our
Denver hub, and the introduction of Los Angeles as a focus city for Frontier.
While the growth in the Denver hub met our expectations, the services introduced
in the Los Angeles market clearly did not perform to the level we had anticipated.
While we remain committed to the Los Angeles strategy, the disappointing financial
performance of this focus city, which contributed significantly to our loss,
led us to adjust our August schedule to appropriately reallocate our resources
to better performing opportunities."
Mainline passenger revenue increased as mainline revenue passenger miles (RPMs)
grew at a rate of 39.0 percent during the fiscal first quarter, out-pacing mainline
capacity growth as measured by available seat miles (ASMs), which increased
32.0 percent from the same time last year. As a result, the airline's mainline
load factor was 70.7 percent for its fiscal first quarter of 2005, 3.5 load
factor points greater than the airline's load factor of 67.2 percent during
the same quarter last year. The airline's mainline breakeven load factor for
the fiscal first quarter 2005 increased 8.1 load factor points from 65.4 percent
to 73.5 percent. Frontier's breakeven load factor increased from the prior comparable
period as a result of a decrease in our yield per RPM to 10.79 cents during
the quarter ended June 30, 2004 from 12.30 cents, or 12.3 percent, during the
quarter ended June 30, 2003, partially offset by a decrease in the airline's
mainline cost per available seat mile (CASM).
During the fiscal first quarter 2005, the airline's mainline passenger revenue
per available seat mile (RASM) decreased 7.6 percent to 7.63 cents from the
same quarter last year. The decrease in RASM was due to the 12.3 percent mainline
yield per RPM drop on a year-over-year basis partially offset by the comparative
period load factor increase. Contributing to the yield decline was the introductory
fares offered in six new markets started in the June 2004 quarter and a 7.7
percent increase in average length of haul on a year-over-year basis.
The airline's mainline CASM for the fiscal first quarter decreased .5 percent
to 8.09 cents from 8.13 cents for the same quarter last year. Mainline fuel
cost per gallon during the quarter, including taxes and delivery charges, increased
34.4 percent to $1.25, compared to $.93 for the same period last year. Mainline
CASM excluding fuel decreased 7.4 percent to 6.28 cents from the same period
last year, when CASM excluding fuel was 6.78 cents.
Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Paul Tate discussed the airline's
year-over-year unit cost comparatives stating, "Our fiscal first quarter
generated continued improvement in our mainline CASM, both including and excluding
fuel, as a result of a 14.7 percent improvement in mainline aircraft utilization
and a 10.1 percent increase in average mainline stage length, despite incurring
costs associated with our transition to an all-Airbus fleet. We received nine
new aircraft during the quarter, which represents the largest quarter number
of aircraft scheduled for delivery through 2008."
Tate also described the airline's current cash and working capital position
stating, "As of June 30, 2004, our unrestricted cash position during the
past 12 months has increased from $128.3 million to $193.6 million. In the same
period, our working capital has increased from $72.9 million to $75.8 million.
Our cash position remains near its all-time high."
The airline's fleet in service on June 30, 2004 consisted of 14 owned Airbus
A319 and A318 aircraft, 23 leased Airbus A319 and A318 aircraft and nine leased
Boeing 737 aircraft.
Business developments during the quarter included:
- Took delivery of seven new Airbus A319 and two A318 aircraft, and retired
one Boeing 737 aircraft, for a net increase of eight aircraft and a fleet
total of 46 by quarter's end.
- Inaugurated "focus city" service from Los Angeles, offering the
airline's first point-to-point service, including non-stop service from Los
Angeles to St. Louis, Kansas City, and Minneapolis/St. Paul.
- Started service between Denver and Washington Dulles and received Department
of Transportation (DOT) authorization to provide two additional round-trip
flights between Denver and Washington D.C.'s slot-controlled Reagan National
Airport. With the addition of Dulles service and the increase in Reagan service,
which began in July 2004, Frontier now serves three destinations in the Washington,
D.C. area with a total of seven daily flights to and from Denver.
- Started service from Denver to Anchorage, Denver to Nashville and Denver
- Began JetExpress service between Denver and Spokane and Denver and Billings.
- Inaugurated service from Los Angeles to Philadelphia, marking the airline's
first non-stop, transcontinental service.
- Expanded international service with new non-stop flights from Salt Lake
and Kansas City to Cancun.
- Filed and subsequently received approval after the end of the quarter, to
further expand the airline's popular Cancun service with non-stop flights
from Austin and Nashville.
- Signed a multi-year agreement with Sabre Airline Solutions for its SabreSonic
passenger solution to power the airline's reservations and check-in capabilities.
- Frontier's frequent-flyer program, EarlyReturns, reached the one million
- Won national acclaim for popular "a whole different animal" advertising
campaign, including The Denver Advertising Federation's Fame and Fortune Award,
four New York Festival Awards, nine Mobius Awards, and one Cresta Award.
Potter concluded, "As we said at the end of the last quarter, we fully
expect the mainline yield per RPM comparative declines and favorable unit cost
trends to continue into the foreseeable future. However, we know that profitability
can only be achieved by continuing to focus on our strategies of bringing the
very best product to the market, while keeping a vigilant eye on the costs we
can control. In some cases that means remaining agile enough to make the necessary
changes in our schedule such as our Los Angeles reduction, or moving our regional
jets to an attractive route such as Denver to Little Rock.
"Our future bookings continue to look very strong and we are proud of
all of our employees who contribute to this airline on a daily basis, turning
new customers into return customers and building loyalty towards Frontier one
passenger at a time."
Senior leadership will host a conference call to discuss Frontier's quarterly
earnings on July 30, 2004 at 9:00 a.m. Mountain Standard Time. The call is available
via the World Wide Web on the airline's Web site at www.frontierairlines.com
or using the following URL: http://www.vcall.com/CEPage.asp?ID=88901.
Currently in its 11th year of operations, Denver-based Frontier Airlines is
the second largest jet service carrier at Denver International Airport with
a fleet of 46 aircraft and employing approximately 4,500 aviation professionals.
Frontier, in conjunction with Frontier JetExpress operated by Horizon Air, operates
routes linking our Denver hub to 43 destinations in 24 states spanning the nation
from coast-to-coast and to five cities in Mexico. Frontier's maintenance and
engineering department has received the Federal Aviation Administration's highest
award, the Diamond Certificate of Excellence, in recognition of 100 percent
of its maintenance and engineering employees completing advanced aircraft maintenance
training programs, for five consecutive years. In July 2004, Frontier ranked
as one of the "Top 10 Domestic Airlines" as determined by readers
of Travel + Leisure magazine. Frontier provides capacity information
and other operating statistics on its Web site, which may be viewed at www.frontierairlines.com.
Legal Notice Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
Statements contained in this press release that are not historical facts may
be considered forward-looking statements as that item is defined in the Private
Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements are inherently
subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ
materially from these forward looking statements. Many of these risks and uncertainties
cannot be predicted with accuracy and some might not even be anticipated. Some
of the factors that could significantly impact the forward-looking statements
in this press release include, but are not limited to: further downward pressure
on airfares due to competition, demand or other factors; continuing adverse
effects of high fuel costs; increased prices for fuel and the inability to recover
these higher fuel costs in airfares; unanticipated decreases in the volume of
passenger traffic due to terrorist acts or additional incidents that could cause
the public to question the safety and/or efficiency of air travel; negative
public perceptions associated with increased security wait times at various
domestic airports; the inability to secure adequate gate facilities at Denver
International Airport and at other airports where Frontier operates; weather,
maintenance or other operational disruptions; air traffic control-related difficulties;
the impact of labor issues; actions of the federal and local governments; changes
in the government's policy regarding relief to the airline industry, especially
as it relates to war status risk insurance; the stability of the U.S. economy
and the economic environment of the airline industry; and other factors detailed
in the Company's public filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Any forward-looking statement is qualified by reference to these risks and factors.
These risks and factors are not exclusive, and the Company undertakes no obligation
to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements to reflect events
or circumstances that may arise after the date of this press release. Additional
information regarding these and other factors may be contained in the Company's
SEC filings, including without limitation, the Company's Form 10-K for its fiscal
year ended March 31, 2004. The Company's filings are available from the Securities
and Exchange Commission or may be obtained through the Company's Web site, www.frontierairlines.com.
FRONTIER AIRLINES, INC. SELECTED
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