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Southwest Airlines Reports Fourth Quarter Net Loss of $220 Million or $0.37 per Diluted Share

Southwest Airlines has reported a fourth quarter net loss of $220 million or ($0.37) per diluted share on a 7.7 percent increase in revenue to $6.2 billion compared to Q4 2019. For the full year, the carrier reported a net income of $539 million or $0.87 per diluted share.

Southwest Airlines Boeong 737-700NG - Courtesy Southwest Airlines

On Thursday (January 26, 2023), Southwest Airlines reported their fourth quarter and full year financial results for the period ending December 31, 2022. The carrier reported a fourth quarter net loss of $220 million or ($0.37) per diluted share on a 7.7 percent revenue increase compared to Q4 2019 to $6.2 billion. For the full year, Southwest reported a net income of $539 million or $0.87 per diluted share on a 6.2 percent increase in revenue versus 2019 to $23.8 billion. The airline’s fourth quarter revenue per available seat mile (RASM) was 16.46 cents, a 14.9 percent increase compared to Q4 2019, while cost per available seat mile (CASM) increased by 38.2 percent to 17.49 cents versus the same period in 2019. Fourth quarter costs excluding fuel (CASM-ex) increased year-over-three by 44.9 percent to 13.39 cents.

At December 31, 2022, Southwest Airlines had total liquidity of $13.3 billion and outstanding debts of $8.1 billion. During 2022, Southwest paid $3.1 billion to retire a total of $2.9 billion in principal of debt and finance lease obligations.

In Thursday’s announcement, Southwest Airlines’ President and Chief Executive Officer, Bob Jordan, said,

“Due to the operational disruptions in late December, which resulted in more than 16,700 flight cancellations, we incurred a fourth quarter pre-tax negative impact of approximately $800 million (or approximately $620 million on an after-tax basis), which resulted in a fourth quarter 2022 net loss. Despite the negative financial impacts in first quarter 2022 due to the Omicron variant and in fourth quarter 2022 due to the operational disruptions, we generated full year 2022 net income, excluding special items, of $723 million.

“With regard to the operational disruptions, I am deeply sorry for the impact to our Employees and Customers. We have swiftly taken steps to bolster our operational resilience and are undergoing a detailed review of the December events. In addition, our Board of Directors has established an Operations Review Committee that is working with the Company's

Management to help oversee the Company's response. As part of our efforts, we are also conducting a third-party review of the December events and are reexamining the priority of technology and other investments planned in 2023.

“Based on current revenue and cost trends, we currently expect a first quarter 2023 net loss. However, we are encouraged by current booking trends in March 2023. Our 2023 plan continues to support solid profits with year-over-year margin expansion for full year 2023. We remain intent on achieving the long- term financial goals outlined at our December 2022 Investor Day. We also intend to regain our 51-year reputation for operational excellence. As ever, I am grateful for our Employees and their resilience and steadfast focus on Safety, Customer Service, and Teamwork. They remain the heart and soul of Southwest Airlines.”

During the fourth quarter, Southwest took delivery of 33 Boeing 737-8 MAX aircraft, for a total of 68 of the aircraft type for 2022. The company ended the year with a fleet of 770 aircraft, reflecting 27 737-700 retirements, including five retirements in the fourth quarter. Due to supply chain challenges and the current status of 737-7 MAX certification, Southwest did not receive all 114 contractually scheduled 737 deliveries in 2022. The company still expects to receive approximately 100 737 deliveries in 2023, ending the year with 843 aircraft.

Founded in 1971, Dallas-based Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) has distinguished itself by offering exemplary customer service delivered by over 62,000 team members at 121 airports across 11 countries. Southwest offers a robust point-to-point network with a strong presence across leisure and business markets, and carried 130 million passengers in 2019. During peak travel seasons, the airline operates more than 4,000 daily departures to over 100 destinations across the U.S. and 10 additional countries. Southwest also continues to develop tangible steps toward achieving carbon neutrality by 2050, including offering Customers the opportunity to help the airline offset carbon emissions.

In trading Friday afternoon (January 27, 2022), shares in Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV) were up 0.92% to $36.02/share (1:45 PM EDT).

Source: Southwest Airlines


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