SkyWest sees Q4 profits improve

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SkyWest Inc. saw its net income rise to $13.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2012, up from a loss of nearly $18 million in the same three months of 2012.

The improvement can be attributed to increased block hours and further progress with its profit improvement plan, the Utah-based regional airline firm says.

Operating revenues in the fourth quarter decreased 9.9% to $810.7 million, caused by a $115.8 million reduction in fuel and engine overhaul reimbursements from regional partners. This was offset by a revenue increase of $27.5 million related to on-time performance and completion factors.

Operating expenses at SkyWest decreased to $767 million compared to $905 million during the fourth quarter of 2011. Total airline expenses including interest decreased 15% to $139.1 million in the quarter.

Maintenance expenses decreased to $149 million in the third quarter, down from $184 million in the period a year earlier. SkyWest reduced non-pass through maintenance costs by $14.7 million and reduced its United Express Bombardier CRJ200 overhaul costs by $8.7 million.

For the full 2012 fiscal year, SkyWest saw profits rise to $51.1 million compared to a $27.3 million loss in 2011.

SkyWest saw lower fuel expenses in 2012, spending $426 million compared to $593 million in 2011.

Total block hours in the fourth quarter increased 3.3% to 568,808. They increased 2.1% to 2.3 million for the full fiscal year.

Load factor increased 1.4 percentage points for the year to 80.7% on a 1.6% increase in capacity.

Revenue passenger miles for the year increased 3.4% to 30 billion. Passenger numbers increased 5.3% for the year.

SkyWest, Inc. is the parent company of regional carriers SkyWest Airlines and ExpressJet, which have regional flying agreements in place with American Airlines, Delta, United and US Airways.