The bankruptcy spotlight has shifted from AMR (AMR) to Pinnacle Airlines Corp. (PNCL) after it announced a wide-ranging initiative to decrease costs and improve liquidity. Predicting business failure is difficult, and may be approached from several angles. This article applies the P-Score, an industry-specific logistic regression model.

In order to obtain an airline’s P-Score, we first obtain

*W *= –1.98*X*_{1} – 4.95*X*_{2 }– 1.96*X*_{3 }– 0.14*X*_{4} – 2.38*X*_{5}_{ }

where

*X*_{1 }= operating revenue ÷ total assets

*X*_{2 }= retained earnings ÷ total assets

*X*_{3 }= shareholder’s equity ÷ total debt obligation

*X*_{4 }= liquid assets ÷ current maturities of total debt obligations

*X*_{5 }= EBIT ÷ operating revenue

The P-Score, or probability of bankruptcy, is then given by

*P *=* *1 ÷ [1 + *e*^{–W}] * *

According to the model, there is a 24% chance that Pinnacle declares bankruptcy, an 8 percentage point increase from the third quarter of 2010 (*click on graph to enlarge*).

It is important to note that the model does not take into account fundamental factors such as the revenue increase expected from the resetting of Delta Connection rates in January 2013. In other words, the model only captures the symptoms of an airline’s fundamental problems. Thus, a better approach consists of combining a quantitative method with fundamental analysis.

**Disclosure: **I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.