Hawaiian Holdings Climbs the Ranks of the Best Airlines

Hawaiian Airlines is moving up in the annual airline quality rankings. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

The list of the nation's best airlines is out, and no carrier improved its quality ranking more last year than did Hawaiian Holdings (NASDAQ: HA  ) subsidiary Hawaiian Airlines. Fool contributor Tim Beyers says it may be time for investors to give the stock a second look.

Specifically, Hawaiian moved up from fifth in 2012 to third last year, according to data compiled by researchers at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and Wichita State University's W. Frank Barton School of Business. Carriers are measured on the basis of 12 different customer complaint categories, as well as common failings such as on-time performance, bumped flights, and the like.

In the following video, Tim says the gains should impress investors since they come as Hawaiian is juggling capacity. Recent changes include ending service to Manila, Thailand, and Fukuoka, Japan, while opening new routes to Beijing.

The bad news? Service gains haven't led to improved financial results. Passenger revenue per available seat mile, or PRASM, fell 3.8% last year. Executives expect to reverse that trend in the first quarter with a gain of 4%-7% in PRASM.

Will they deliver?  Revenue passenger miles were up 0.7% year to date through March. Available seat miles were up 1.8% over the same period, though load factor -- which measures the percentage of available seats sold -- fell one percentage point to 80%. Hawaiian needs to improve the first two metrics while holding steady on the third in order to deliver on investors' hopes for sustained growth.

Now it's your turn to weigh in. Do you expect Hawaiian to continue ranking among the best airlines? If so, do you foresee corresponding financial gains? Please watch the video to get the full story and then leave a comment to let us know your take, including whether you would buy, sell, or short Hawaiian Holdings stock at current prices.

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