Latin American airline Copa Holdings, S.A. (NYSE:CPA) reported second-quarter earnings after the market closed on Wednesday, and there was a lot to like about the results. Prices were up, fuel costs were down, and a larger fleet meant more seats to sell in the quarter

Top-line results don't always tell the whole story, so here's a look at the important metrics from the second quarter. 

Silhouette of an aircraft flying above the clouds with the sun in the background.

Image source: Getty Images.

Copa Holdings results: The raw numbers

Metric Q2 2017 Q2 2016 Year-Over-Year Change
Sales $578.1 million  $494.8 million  16.8% 
Net income $63.0 million  $54.5 million  15.5% 
Diluted earnings per share $1.49  $1.29  15.3% 

Data source: Copa Holdings earnings release. 

What happened with Copa Holdings this quarter? 

The rising revenue and income you see above is a good indication of how the business is performing overall, but airlines also give some detailed stats on their operations. This is where you can see the real strength of Copa Holdings in the quarter. 

  • Available seat miles (ASMs) were up 8.6% to 5.8 billion, due in large part to two 737-800 aircraft delivered in the first quarter. Revenue passenger miles (RPMs) were up 14.1% versus a year ago to 4.8 billion and load factor rose 390 basis points to 82.2%. 
  • Not only was capacity up, but prices rose as well, with passenger revenue per available seat mile up 8.2% to 9.7 cents. 
  • Costs were held in check, only rising 0.2% per available seat mile to 6.3 cents excluding fuel. And fuel costs fell 2.4% to $1.77 per fuel gallon. 
  • Adjusted for one-time items like fuel hedges, net income would have increased from $21.5 million a year ago to $62.8 million, or $1.48 per share. 
  • Copa Airlines also announced the order of 15 Boeing 737 MAX 10 aircraft to be delivered in 2021 and 2022. This will add significant capacity to the 101 aircraft in the fleet. 
  • Management also said the dividend will be increased from $0.51 per share quarterly to $0.75 because of the strong results. 

Looking forward

It's hard to criticize Copa's performance in the quarter. Demand and prices more than kept up with the expanding fleet, and costs were contained very effectively as well. The company's expansion plans -- not only the new flights to Mendoza, Argentina, starting later this year, but long-term as well -- should keep the company on a growth path. And the increased dividend shows management's confidence in the business going forward. 

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