Total operating revenues in the 2001 first quarter increased by 8.8 percent to $148.0 million, as compared to $136.0 million in the first quarter of 2000. Total operating expenses increased by 4.9 percent to $147.3 million, as compared to $140.5 million in the year-earlier period.
Total revenue per available seat mile (RASM) in the first quarter of 2001 increased 10.0 percent to 8.67+, primarily reflecting improved passenger yields. Scheduled passenger revenues increased 8.9 percent to $113.8 million and scheduled yield increased 8.3 percent to 11.6+ from the first quarter of 2000. Charter revenues increased by 10.9 percent to $22.4 million in the first quarter of 2001 as a result of increases in Las Vegas and Anchorage charter service.
Revenue passenger miles (RPMs) for system-wide operations increased to 1.3 billion RPMs, a 2.3 percent increase over 2000 first quarter levels. Total available seat miles (ASMs) decreased 1.0 percent during the quarter to 1.7 billion ASMs. Average scheduled passenger load factor in the first quarter of 2001 increased 3.1 percentage points to 72.7 percent, as compared to 69.6 percent last year.
Total cost per available seat mile (CASM) increased 5.9 percent from 8.14+ in the first quarter of 2000 to 8.62+ in the first quarter of 2001. Excluding the $3.6 million favorable adjustment relating to the DC-9 fleet restructuring charge, first quarter 2001 CASM would have increased 8.5 percent to 8.83 cents. Increases in operating costs were led by a $4.9 million, or 12.6 percent, rise in wages and benefits primarily resulting from increases associated with the new pilots' contract that went into effect on January 1, 2001.
Aircraft fuel expenses increased by $2.4 million or 8.5 percent in the first quarter 2001, primarily due to the favorable effect of the company's fuel hedging program in the first quarter of 2000. The average cost of aircraft fuel per gallon increased less than one percent, quarter over quarter prior to recognition of hedging gains/losses.
Aircraft rentals increased by $2.0 million or 47.8 percent in the first quarter of 2001, primarily as a result of the addition of two DC-10 aircraft to the company's fleet in April and December 2000 and the sale and lease-back of two other DC-10 aircraft in January 2001.
Maintenance materials and repairs decreased by approximately $3.2 million or 11.4 percent quarter over quarter, primarily due to a decrease in DC-9 maintenance expense resulting from decreases in heavy maintenance checks and scheduled engine removals.
The company reported cash and cash equivalents of $85.2 million at March 31, 2001, compared to $67.8 million at December 31, 2000 and $82.0 million at March 31, 2000.
Hawaii tourism was flat during the first quarter of 2001, recording less than one percent growth in total visitor count over 2000 levels, according to Hawaii Visitor and Convention Bureau statistics. Hawaiian Airlines experienced a 1.7 percent decrease year over year in scheduled passengers carried during the first quarter against a 3.7% decline in scheduled capacity (ASMs).
"The softening of the U.S. economy and continued uncertainty of the Japan economy have clearly dampened travel demand this year. Along with the volatility of fuel prices, these factors continue to be a concern," said Paul J. Casey, Hawaiian Airlines vice chairman and chief executive officer.
The following events occurred during the first quarter of 2001:
*On March 28, 2001 Hawaiian Airlines announced the opening of a new sales office in San Diego, CA in advance of the company's inauguration of nonstop service between San Diego and Honolulu on June 15, 2001.
*On March 26, 2001 the company announced that it had reached a tentative agreement with the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) on a new 42-month contract covering the company's 895 flight attendants.
*On March 15, 2001, the company put its first new Boeing 717-200 aircraft into scheduled service among the islands of Hawaii, beginning a fleet transition that will completely replace the company's interisland fleet of DC-9 aircraft by year's end.
*On March 1, 2001, the company announced that career airline finance executive Christine R. Deister had joined Hawaiian as Executive Vice President - Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer.
*On January 31, 2001, the company announced that President and Chief Executive Officer Paul J. Casey had been appointed Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer and that Executive Vice President - Operations and Service Robert W. Zoller had been appointed President and Chief Operating Officer.
Hawaiian Airlines, Hawaii's first and largest airline, provides scheduled and charter air transportation of passengers, cargo and mail among the islands of Hawaii and between Hawaii and six West Coast gateway cities and two destinations in the South Pacific. The carrier has earned international awards for its onboard service in First Class and Coach, has been consistently rated one of the "Top 10 U.S. Airlines" by readers of Conde Nast Traveler and Travel & Leisure for the past several consecutive years and most recently was named the top U.S. carrier for "Premium" class service in the 2001 Zagat Survey.
Additional information about Hawaiian Airlines, including previously issued company news releases, may be accessed on the Internet at http://www.hawaiianair.com.
Except for historical information contained herein, the matters discussed in this news release contain forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. The company's actual results may differ materially from the results discussed in the forward-looking statements. Factors that might cause such a difference include, but are not limited to, the effect of changing economic conditions, trends in the airline industry, the ability to control costs and expenses, and other risks detailed in the company's continuing reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.