Higher fuel prices, increased competition, aircraft delivery delays, the Kilauea eruption and severe weather events didn’t prevent Hawaiian Holdings Inc. from carrying the most passengers of any year ever or surpassing analyst’s expectations.
The parent company of Hawaiian Airlines, Hawaiian Holdings Inc., posted net income in the fourth quarter of $31. 6 million or 64 cents a share, to end the year with a profit of $233.2 million, or $4.62 per share. Revenue rose more than 2 percent in the quarter to $697.5 million. Revenue last year increased about 6 percent to $2.8 billion from nearly $2.7 billion in 2017.
The results, which followed the December warning that Hawaiian issued about the possibility of missing its fourth-quarter revenue targets, surpassed Wall Street’s expectations. Fourth-quarter earnings, adjusted for non-recurring costs, were $1 per share, which exceeded 98 cents, the average estimate of analysts from Zacks Investment Research.
Peter Ingram, Hawaiian Airlines president and CEO, called 2018 an “eventful year” during a conference call today and said the company’s fourth quarter and year-end results reached a level that not many would have expected given the increased competitive capacity and higher fuel prices that the carrier faced in 2018.
“But we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that our team once again delivered in spite of the obstacles that came their way,” Ingram said. “2019 will be an important year for Hawaiian. Successfully dealing with all of 2018’s twists and turns gives me tremendous confidence in our ability to sustain and build upon our achievements in the years ahead.”
Hawaiian carried a record 11.8 million passengers in 2018, its fourteenth straight years of growth amid an expanding network and fleet. While the passenger increase was nearly 3 percent over the previous year, it didn’t keep pace with industry capacity growth. Fuel prices have moderated into 2019, which is expected to offer a competitive environment similar to what Hawaiian faced in 2018.
“We ‘re coming into 2019 from a position of strength,” Ingram said. “We are a leading competitor in all of the geographies we served.”
Hawaiian’s stock closed at $33 in the final minutes of trading today. Shares of the company’s stock over the last 52 weeks have ranged from a high of $44.25 on Aug. 21 to a low of $24.81 on Dec. 27.