SkyWest swings to loss on weather in Q1

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Utah-based regional carrier SkyWest Inc reports a $27.8 million operating loss in the first quarter, reversing from a $15.6 million operating profit a year earlier.

The airline primarily attributes the loss to severe weather that caused 21,000 of its 27,000 flight cancellations during the quarter. These resulted in a $30.3 million negative hit to pre-tax profit.

Operating revenues decreased 3.9% to $772.4 million as block hours fell 4.4% to 546,813 during the quarter. However, operating expenses increased 1.6% to $800.2 million as SkyWest had to pay employees for the cancelled flights.

“Due primarily to factors outside of our control from the series of severe winter storms, we experienced a significant negative impact to our financial and operating results for the quarter ended 31 March 2014,” says Jerry Atkin, chief executive of SkyWest, in a statement.

The carrier reports a net loss of $22.9 million in the first quarter. This compares to a $3.23 million net profit a year earlier.

Traffic rose 0.4% on a 2.2% drop in capacity during the period.

SkyWest removed two 50-seat regional jets and added three 65- to 76-seat regional jets during the first quarter.