Virgin America 's VA first-quarter 2015 adjusted earnings of 24 cents per share substantially beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 14 cents. The California-based low-cost airline, partly owned by British billionaire investor Richard Branson, went public in Nov 2014.
Operating revenues came in at $326.4 million surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $322 million. Revenues improved 4.1% from the year-ago figure. Passenger revenues contributed the bulk (88.7%) of the total revenue and were up 4.1% from the year-ago figure. Other revenues, up 4.6%, accounted for the balance.
During the first quarter of 2015, passenger revenue per available seat mile (PRASM) climbed 2.6% to 10.27 cents on the back of a 90 basis point-increase in load factor (% of seats filled) to 80.1%. Yield per passenger mile improved to 12.82 cents from 12.64 cents a year ago. Revenue per available seat mile (RASM) improved 2.7% during the reported quarter to 11.58 cents
Capacity climbed 1.5% during the first quarter of 2015. Cost per available seat mile (excluding special items, fuel costs and profit sharing) rose 3% to 7.82 cents. Fuel cost per gallon (excluding special items) declined 22.7% during the quarter to $2.45.
The carrier expects capacity to decrease in the range of 0% to 1% in the second quarter of 2015 on a year-over-year basis. Moreover, the company projects PRASM (a measure of unit revenue) to decrease in the band of 0% to 2% in the second quarter of 2015.
The carrier expects economic fuel cost (inclusive of related taxes and hedge costs) to average between $2.10 and $2.20 per gallon in the second quarter. Cost per available seat mile (excluding fuel and profit sharing) is projected to increase in the band of 7% to 9% in 2015 on a year-over-year basis. The metric is expected to be flat in 2016.
Currently, Virgin America has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Better-ranked stocks in the transportation space are Hawaiian Holdings Inc. HA , JetBlue Airways JBLU and Saia, Inc. SAIA . Both stocks carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).