Major airlines Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV), United Airlines (NYSE:UAL), and American Airlines Group (NASDAQ:AAL) all reported their February traffic numbers today, and all were affected by the weather.
Southwest Airlines reported that despite 6.1% fewer trips flown in February and a 1.1% decline in revenue passengers carried, its revenue passenger miles were up 1.2% to nearly 7.2 billion. [A revenue passenger mile is one paying passenger flown one mile.] Through the first two months of 2014, the company has also reported its total trips flown is down 6.7% compared to the year-ago period. As a result of increased load factor (up 3 percentage points to 77.2%), however, its total revenue passenger miles have risen to 14.6 billion, an increase of 1.7%.
Revenue for every seat flown one mile rose 5% last month, compared with February 2013. That figure rises when more seats are filled or average fares increase. That revenue got a percentage-point bump due to bad weather last month, the carrier said Monday.
United Airlines saw its revenue passenger miles fall by 0.3% in February, with a dip of 0.8% domestically and 0.4% internationally. It, like Southwest, noted its load factor was up. [Load factor represents the percentage of seats filled by paying passengers.] The company noted it had to cancel more than 11,000 flights in February as a result of the weather, which reduced its capacity by approximately 3 percentage points year over year. Through January and February, its total revenue passenger miles stood at 28.9 billion, a decrease of 1% from 29.2 billion seen in 2013.
Finally, American Airlines noted its revenue passenger miles increased to 15.1 billion in February, a gain of 0.5% above the 15.0 billion seen in February 2013. However, its available seat miles rose at a higher pace of 0.8%, which meant its load factor was down slightly to 78.4%. The company highlighted it had to cancel more than 14,000 flights in February as a result of the weather, bringing its total canceled flights to 28,000 in 2014, a 164% increase over the same period in 2013.
Despite the cancellations, American Airlines noted it still expects its passenger revenue per available seat mile to be up between 2% and 4% in the first quarter. However, the company did note as a result of the weather that its total profit will be down as a result of higher unit costs. It said it will provide further guidance on the impact in early April.
-- Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.
Patrick Morris owns shares of Southwest Airlines. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.