The fourth quarter was an interesting one for the airlines, as we saw American Airlines' parent AMR declare bankruptcy. This week, we will see how the airlines are doing, as a couple of the big names report. In this article, I will preview the four names reporting this week, beginning with Delta (DAL).
Delta Air Lines - Wednesday, before bell: Delta will report its earnings mid-week, and it is expected to post a better quarter than the one from a year ago.
For the fiscal fourth quarter, Delta is expected to post an increase in revenues by 6.6% to $8.31 billion. However, the best news is expected to be in earnings per share, which are projected to double to 38 cents from 19 cents in the year ago period. For the full year, Delta is expected to post a 10% yearly rise in revenues to $35 billion. However, earnings per share are expected to decline from $1.71 in the 2010 period to $1.34 in 2011.
Delta has seen its earnings projections rise over the last couple of months. Three months ago, analysts were expecting just 14 cents a share, and a month ago, 35 cents a share. We are now up to 38 cents for the period. Expectations for the full year have come up by a similar amount. However, I will caution everyone that Delta has missed in three of the past four quarters.
Currently, 2012 revenues are expected to be up just 3.3% for the full year. However, earnings per share are expected to soar, from a current 2011 expectation of $1.34 to $2.25. Delta could sure use an improvement in the global economy, and it would also be nice if oil prices declined a bit from current levels.
Jetblue (JBLU) - Thursday, before bell: Jetblue will report later in the week. The company is expected to post 20% growth in quarterly revenues to $1.13 billion. Earnings per share are expected to rise by a penny to four cents a share. For the full year, the company is expected to grow revenues by 18.6% to $4.48 billion. However, earnings per share are expected to decline by six cents to $0.25 for the full year. At current, projections for 2012 call for revenues to increase by 10% and for earnings per share to double to $0.50 per share.
US Airways (LCC) - Wednesday, before bell: Like Delta, US Airways will report Wednesday morning. For the fourth quarter, revenues are expected to rise by 8 percent to $3.14 billion. The company is expected to post no profit or loss, despite previous calls for losses over the past few months. The company has beat expectations in the past four quarters. For the full year, the company is expected to see revenues rise by 9.5% to $13.04 billion. However, earnings per share are expected to plunge from $2.34 to $0.56. Revenues are expected to increase again in 2012 in the mid single digits, and earnings per share are expected to rebound.
Alaska Airlines (ALK) - Thursday, before bell: Alaska Airlines will join Jetblue in releasing earnings on Thursday morning. The company expected to see revenues increase by 10% to $1.06 billion. Earnings per share are expected to decline from $1.28 to $1.14 for the period. For the full year, the company is expected to post a 12.8% yearly increase in revenues to $4.32 billion. Earnings per share are expected to rise by a similar amount, from $7.14 to $7.97. While revenues are only expected to rise by half of the amount in 2012 that they are projected to do in 2011, earnings per share are expected to rise by a much higher amount.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.