2017 was a fantastic year for airline stocks as relatively lower oil prices, higher demand and improved operational performance brightened the outlook for the sector. However, after a solid performance last year, the global airline industry is bracing for an oil shock in 2018. The recent run-up in oil prices, if sustained, may exert a significant drag on airlines profitability in this year.
[Image 1: Watchlist highlights stock returns for leading airlines as on Jan. 24, 2018
(*For US-based companies, returns as on Jan. 23, 2018)]
In 2017, jet fuel prices averaged at USD 1.5 per gallon for the first 3-quarters. A spike in crude oil moved jet fuel average price to USD 1.74 per gallon in Q4’17 from USD 1.59 per gallon in Q3’17. The impact of 9.4% sequential rise in jet fuel prices in Q4 was clearly visible in recently announced quarterly numbers of leading airlines.
For instance, Delta Air Lines witnessed an 8% y-o-y drop in net income in Q4’17 owning to 21% rise in fuel cost. At the same time, CASM (cost per available seat mile) – Fuel for Delta rose significantly by 38.67% sequentially to USD 0.03 in Q4’17.
[Image 2: Compare screen highlights trend for Delta Air Lines’ CASM – Fuel and Jet Fuel] Read the rest of this entry »