Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Hawaiian Airlines Parent Reports 40% Plunge in March Traffic

By Rich Smith – Apr 9, 2020 at 5:38PM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

It was a bad month, but it could have been worse.

Hawaiian Holdings (HA) stock had a good Thursday. On a day when a broad stock market rally sent the S&P 500 up by almost 1.5%, Hawaiian shares did even better, gaining 5.4%. And the good news didn't stop even there.

After the close of trading, the parent company of Hawaiian Airlines published data on its traffic during the first quarter, and the news sent the stock up a further 2.4% after hours.

Hawaiian Airlines airplane in flight

Image source: Hawaiian Airlines.

Year to date, the total number of passengers transported on Hawaiian Airlines aircraft declined 16% to 2.4 million. Revenue passenger miles (RPM), or the total distance traveled by all passengers on its planes, has fallen 10% to 3.7 billion, despite available seat miles (ASM -- basically, the total amount of flights conducted) rising 3%.

All of which paints the picture for you: Plenty of planes flying, but with far fewer passengers aboard. Hawaiian's load factor -- the percentage of seats filled on planes that flew -- fell 10.5 percentage points to 74.6%.

As you can imagine, most of the drop-off came in March as the coronavirus pandemic hit the United States hard. Last month, Hawaiian experienced a 45% decline in total passenger traffic, a 41% decline in RPM -- and also a 12% decline in ASM as it reacted to the decline in demand for air travel by cutting flights.

Despite its efforts to match supply with demand, Hawaiian's load factor plummeted 28.4 percentage points at 58%.

All of that sounds pretty bad, and yet Hawaiian Holdings' share price went up after the news came out, which can mean only one thing: Bad as the numbers were, investors expected them to be much worse.

Rich Smith has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Hawaiian Holdings. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

Hawaiian Holdings Stock Quote
Hawaiian Holdings

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
S&P 500 Returns

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 10/06/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.