Southwest Airlines reports February 2017 increases in RPMs, ASMs

Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV) flew 8.7 billion revenue passenger miles (RPMs) in February 2017, an increase of 1.1% from the 8.6 billion RPMs flown in February 2016, the company said.

Available seat miles (ASMs) increased 1.2% to 11.0 billion in February 2017, compared with February 2016 ASMs of 10.9 billion. The February 2017 load factor was 79.0%, which was flat compared with February 2016.

Based on these results and current trends, the company now estimates its first quarter 2017 operating revenue per ASM (RASM) will decline in the 2-3% range, as compared with first quarter 2016.

A better-than-expected February trip completion rate and the loss of traffic from the heavy rainfall in California are contributing factors to this revised RASM outlook. In addition, there was unexpected softness in close-in demand in the second half of February that has since rebounded in March. Bookings and unit revenue trends beyond first quarter 2017 remain encouraging.

Dallas-based Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) operates a network of 101 destinations in the United States and eight additional countries with more than 3,900 departures a day during peak travel season. Its 53,000 employees serve more than 100 million customers annually. As of December 31, 2015, it operated 704 Boeing 737 aircraft.