Airline Data and Analysis
By AirlineFinancials.com LLC
Airline data and analysis you can understand
Airlines covered by this web site
If you are visiting this web site, you probably have some interest in airline analysis.
What you won’t find here is stock advice or predictions on what will occur to a specific airline into the future.
What you will find is user-friendly analysis for the airlines listed above that is more comparative than other analytical reports you may have used . In addition to the usual SEC and BTS data, the analysis here includes dozens of easy to interpret charts and graphs which compare airline finances and operations with numerous break downs from labor costs to passenger ticket expense.
A short summary of the tabs/buttons above:
[Largest Airline Comps] - This page will provide the quickest comparisons using annual data from years 2002-2012 for American, United, Delta/Northwest, Continental, Southwest and US Airways. The index provides short descriptions to help locate charts with the specific data you are looking for.
[Smaller Airline Comps] - This page will provide the quickest comparisons using annual data from years 2002-2012 for JetBlue, Alaska, Air Tran, Frontier and Allegiant. The index provides short descriptions to help locate charts with the specific data you are looking for.
[Airline Financials] - Current financial and operational data with user friendly interactive analysis for next quarter and current year projections.
[Year 2000-2009 Change] - Selected data and charts showing the change since 911.
[Mainline Affiliates] - Data and charts comparing affiliate driven metrics derived from capacity purchase agreements and subsidiaries.
[Commentary] - Opinions and comments on the airline industry.
[Links and Bio] - Web links that can be used to support the data in this analysis, a brief bio of the author and glossary of industry terms.
One of the first issues to be recognized in airline analysis is due to the uniqueness of each airline’s operation, it is virtually impossible to make analogous airline-to-airline comparisons.
The industry includes large domestic only carriers operating narrow-body aircraft as well as the largest airlines in the world competing globally with large wide-body aircraft.
Government rules and restrictions are always changing and there are complex operating differences between the newer airlines when compared to the older [legacy] carriers.
Similar to other industry analytical reports, the analysis you find here uses public data from various sources. Within the limitations of the airlines specific reporting criteria, the data is separated into mainline and affiliate sections. This data is then formatted into numerous user-friendly charts which provide airline-to-airline comparisons over multi year and quarterly time periods.
Annual reports are provided for the 7 largest major airlines. US Airways/America West consolidated has been included since their merger in 2005. Delta acquired Northwest in 2008. United and Continental merged in 2010. Southwest acquired Air Tran in 2011.
The commentary page will provide occasional opinions and comments about the industry and specific airlines.
Airline data reporting 101-
Airlines report data primarily via two publicly available sources. Raw data is sent to the BTS (Bureau of Transportation) and airlines also file quarterly and annual reports with the SEC (Security Exchange Commission).
There is considerable “flexibility” in how each airline categorizes their data for BTS and SEC reports.
Some airlines have “capacity purchase agreements” with up to several small feeder carriers. Most -other- analyst reports combine the affiliated generated revenue into mainline operating revenue. Affiliate expenses are also frequently co-mingled into the mainline operating expenses.
Due to the large affiliate impact for some airlines; up to 40% of mainline capacity and revenue, it is misleading to make “mainline” airline-to-airline comparisons unless that affiliate impact is separated from the mainline operation.
Misleading comparisons can be further compounded when cumulative data over a specific time period (annually) is ratioed by using a year ending divisor.
An example: Employee capacity productivity is calculated by using the cumulative ASM’s for a total of the 12 months but may use a year-ending employee count as the divisor. This methodology fails to consider it is common to have a large increase or decrease in employee counts during short-term time periods which can distort the productivity ratios.
One of the other more noticeable differences in this analysis vis-à-vis others is specific category expense ratios are compared to operating revenue opposed to operating expense. The reasoning for this is regardless of expense totals, which frequently include non-cash write-offs; in the end it is the operating revenue that is required to cover the cash expenses referenced in this report.
This report does not use any adjusted stage lengths or seat densities to equate “could be” scenarios. The actual unit costs and revenues, due to each airlines unique operation make adjusting these metrics useless for legitimate airline-to-airline comparisons.
It is unrealistic to use a narrow range of metrics to form conclusions. Only by using multiple categories viewed over a longer-term time period can legitimate conclusions be formed regarding financial and operational weakness or/and strength for each airline currently or projected into the future.