Airline Financial Data

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3rd Quarter 2017 Airline Financial Data

Release Number: 
BTS 57-17

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U.S. scheduled passenger airlines reported an after-tax net profit of $3.7 billion in the third quarter of 2017, down from $4.7 billion in the second quarter and down from $3.8 billion in the third quarter of 2016, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today (Table 1).  

billions of dollars ($)
Figure 1. Systemwide U.S. Scheduled Service Passenger Airlines Quarterly Net Income
billions of dollars ($)
3Q20163.8
4Q20162.0
1Q20171.9
2Q20174.7
3Q20173.7
Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Schedule P1.2 http://www.transtats.bts.gov/Fields.asp?Table_ID=295

The 24 U.S. scheduled service passenger airlines reported an after-tax net profit as a group for the 18th consecutive quarter.

In addition to the after-tax net profit of $3.7 billion based on net income reports, the scheduled service passenger airlines reported a $6.3 billion pre-tax operating profit in the third quarter of 2017, down from $7.7 billion in the second quarter and down from $7.2 billion in the third quarter of 2016. The airlines reported a pre-tax operating profit - as a group - for the 26th consecutive quarter (Tables 1, 4).

Net profit or loss and operating profit or loss are two different measures of airline financial performance. Net profit or loss includes non-operating income and expenses, nonrecurring items or income taxes. Operating profit or loss is calculated from operating revenues and expenses before taxes and other nonrecurring items.

Total operating revenue for all U.S. passenger airlines in the July-September third-quarter of 2017 was $45.6 billion. Airlines collected $34.2 billion from fares, 75.0 percent of total third-quarter operating revenue (Table 4).

Total operating expenses for all passenger airlines in the third-quarter of 2017 were $39.3 billion, of which fuel costs accounted for $6.8 billion, or 17.3 percent, and labor costs accounted for $13.6 billion, or 34.6 percent (Table 4).

In the third quarter, scheduled passenger airlines collected a total of $1.2 billion in baggage fees, 2.7 percent of total operating revenue, and $720.2 million from reservation change fees, 1.6 percent of total operating revenue. Fees are included for calculations of net income, operating revenue and operating profit or loss (Table 4).

Baggage fees and reservation change fees are the only ancillary fees paid by passengers that are reported to BTS as separate items. Other fees, such as revenue from seating assignments and on-board sales of food, beverages, pillows, blankets, and entertainment are combined in different categories and cannot be identified separately.

See airline financial data press releases and the airline financial databases  for historical data.

Domestic

From domestic operations, U.S. scheduled passenger airlines reported an after-tax net profit of $2.6 billion in the third quarter of 2017, down from $4.1 billion in the second quarter and virtually unchanged from $2.6 billion in the third quarter of 2016 (Table 2). 

billions of dollars ($)
billions of dollars ($)
3Q20162.6
4Q20161.8
1Q20171.9
2Q20174.1
3Q20172.6
Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Schedule P1.2 http://www.transtats.bts.gov/Fields.asp?Table_ID=295

The 24 U.S. scheduled service passenger airlines reported an after-tax net profit from domestic operations as a group for the 18th consecutive quarter.

In addition to the domestic after-tax net profit of $2.6 billion based on net income reports, the scheduled service passenger airlines reported a $4.7 billion pre-tax operating profit from domestic operations in the third quarter of 2017, down from $6.5 billion in the second quarter and down from $5.4 billion in the third quarter of 2016. The airlines reported a pre-tax operating profit from domestic operations - as a group - for the 26th consecutive quarter (Table 2).

Total operating revenue from domestic operations for all U.S. passenger airlines in the July-September third-quarter of 2017 was $33.6 billion. Airlines collected $24.1 billion from fares, 71.7 percent of total third-quarter operating revenue (Tables 2, 5).

Total operating expenses from domestic operations for all passenger airlines in the third-quarter of 2017 were $28.9 billion, of which fuel costs accounted for $4.5 billion, or 15.7 percent, and labor costs accounted for $9.7 billion, or 33.6 percent (Tables 2, 5).

In the third quarter, passenger airlines collected from domestic operations a total of $950 million in baggage fees, 2.8 percent of total operating revenue, and $465 million from reservation change fees, 1.4 percent of total operating revenue (Tables 2, 5).

International

The 17 U.S. scheduled passenger airlines that operate internationally reported an after-tax net profit of $1.1 billion in the third quarter of 2017 from their international operations, up from $613 million in the second quarter and down from $1.2 billion in the third quarter of 2016 (Table 3).

billions of dollars ($)
billions of dollars ($)
3Q20161.2
4Q20160.2
1Q20170.1
2Q20170.6
3Q20171.1
Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Schedule P1.2 http://www.transtats.bts.gov/Fields.asp?Table_ID=295

The 17 U.S. scheduled service passenger airlines reported an after-tax net profit from international operations as a group for the 11th consecutive quarter.

In addition to the international after-tax net profit of $1.1 billion based on net income reports, the scheduled service passenger airlines reported a $1.6 billion pre-tax operating profit in the third quarter of 2017 from their international operations, up from $1.2 billion in the second quarter and down from $1.8 billion in the third quarter of 2016. The airlines reported a pre-tax operating profit from international operations - as a group - for the 22nd consecutive quarter (Table 3).

Total operating revenue from international operations for all U.S. passenger airlines in the July-September third-quarter of 2017 was $12.0 billion. Airlines collected $10.1 billion from fares, 84.3 percent of total third-quarter operating revenue (Tables 3, 6).

Total operating expenses from international operations for all passenger airlines in the third-quarter of 2017 were $10.4 billion, of which fuel costs accounted for $2.3 billion, or 21.8 percent, and labor costs accounted for $3.9 billion, or 37.3 percent (Tables 3, 6).

In the third quarter, passenger airlines collected from international operations a total of $265 million in baggage fees, 2.2 percent of total operating revenue, and $256 million from reservation change fees, 2.1 percent of total operating revenue (Tables 3, 6).

3rd Quarter Margins for All Scheduled Passenger Airlines

All U.S. scheduled passenger airlines reported a combined net income margin of 8.2 percent in the third quarter of 2017, down from a net margin of 8.6 percent in the third quarter of 2016. Net margin is the net income or loss as a percentage of operating revenue. These airlines reported an operating profit margin of 13.9 percent in the third quarter of 2017, down from 16.3 percent in the third quarter of 2016. Operating margin is the operating profit or loss as a percentage of operating revenue (Table 4).

Reporting notes

Additional airline financial data can be found on the BTS website, including industry statistics for other individual low-cost and regional airlines. See tables for operating profit/loss, operating revenue and fuel cost and consumption. See the BTS financial databases for more detailed data.

By regulation, for the quarter ending Sept. 30, airlines that operate at least one aircraft that has more than 60 seats or the capacity to carry a payload of passengers, cargo and fuel weighing more than 18,000 pounds must report financial data to BTS by Nov. 15. The airline filings are subject to a process of quality assurance and data validations before release to the public.

Revised carrier data and late data filings will be made available monthly on TranStats on the Monday following the second Tuesday of the month. All data are subject to revision. BTS will release fourth-quarter 2017 data on May 7.

Reports from 24 airlines in 3Q 2017, (Millions of dollars)
3Q 20164Q 20161Q 20172Q 20173Q 2017Dollar Change 2Q2016-2Q2017
Net Income3,8252,0101,9394,6713,743-82
Operating Profit/Loss7,2484,1023,2677,7346,335-914
Operating Revenue*44,40641,10339,69646,19045,6161,211
Fares33,32530,45029,38734,63334,200875
Baggage Fees1,1011,0291,0271,1771,216115
Reservation Change Fees731661724738720-11
Operating Expenses37,15837,00136,42838,45539,2822,124
Fuel 6,0965,8445,9386,4506,801705
Labor12,74812,95512,78413,61613,589841
Notes: 

* Passenger airline operating revenue includes four other categories.  1) Transport-related is revenue from services which grow from and are incidental to the air transportation services performed by the air carrier. Examples are in-flight onboard sales (food, liquor, pillows, etc), code share revenues, revenues from associated businesses (aircraft maintenance, fuel sales, restaurants, vending machines, etc). 2) Miscellaneous operating revenue includes pet transportation, sale of frequent flyer award miles to airline business partners and standby passenger fees.   3)  Cargo revenue from transporting cargo in belly of aircraft.  4)  Mail revenue from transporting mail in belly of aircraft.  See the P1.2 database http://www.transtats.bts.gov/Fields.asp?Table_ID=295.

Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Form 41; Schedules P1.2 and P6

Reports from 24 airlines in 3Q 2017, (Millions of dollars)
Domestic Operations3Q 20164Q 20161Q 20172Q 20173Q 2017Dollar Change 2Q2016-2Q2017
Net Income2,5841,7661,8534,0582,63854
Operating Profit/Loss5,4413,5332,9916,5024,726-715
Operating Revenue*32,93531,62230,39534,95733,650715
Fares23,59822,62821,73025,24524,117520
Baggage Fees86882281893095083
Reservation Change Fees468439477481465-3
Operating Expenses27,49528,08927,40428,45528,9241,429
Fuel 4,0804,0384,0694,3204,548468
Labor9,1729,5129,3709,8009,726554
Notes: 

* Passenger airline operating revenue includes four other categories.  1) Transport-related is revenue from services which grow from and are incidental to the air transportation services performed by the air carrier. Examples are in-flight onboard sales (food, liquor, pillows, etc), code share revenues, revenues from associated businesses (aircraft maintenance, fuel sales, restaurants, vending machines, etc). 2) Miscellaneous operating revenue includes pet transportation, sale of frequent flyer award miles to airline business partners and standby passenger fees.   3)  Cargo revenue from transporting cargo in belly of aircraft.  4)  Mail revenue from transporting mail in belly of aircraft.  See the P1.2 database http://www.transtats.bts.gov/Fields.asp?Table_ID=295.

Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Form 41; Schedules P1.2 and P6

Reports from 17 airlines in 3Q 2017, (Millions of dollars)
International Operations3Q 20164Q 20161Q 20172Q 20173Q 2017Dollar Change 2Q2016-2Q2017
Net Income1,225244866131,105-120
Operating Profit/Loss1,8065692771,2331,609-197
Operating Revenue*11,4709,4829,30111,23311,967496
Fares9,7277,8227,6569,38810,083355
Baggage Fees23320720924726532
Reservation Change Fees263222246257256-8
Operating Expenses9,6658,9139,02410,00010,358693
Fuel 2,0161,8061,8682,1302,253237
Labor3,5763,4433,4143,8163,863287
Notes: 

* Passenger airline operating revenue includes four other categories.  1) Transport-related is revenue from services which grow from and are incidental to the air transportation services performed by the air carrier. Examples are in-flight onboard sales (food, liquor, pillows, etc), code share revenues, revenues from associated businesses (aircraft maintenance, fuel sales, restaurants, vending machines, etc). 2) Miscellaneous operating revenue includes pet transportation, sale of frequent flyer award miles to airline business partners and standby passenger fees.   3)  Cargo revenue from transporting cargo in belly of aircraft.   4)  Mail revenue from transporting mail in belly of aircraft.  See the P1.2 database http://www.transtats.bts.gov/Fields.asp?Table_ID=295.

Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Form 41; Schedules P1.2 and P6

Reports from 24 airlines in 3Q 2017, (Millions of dollars)
3Q 20163Q 2017Change2016-2017 % Change% of 3Q 2017 Revenue or Expense Total
Operating Revenue
Passenger Fares (scheduled/charter)33,325.834,200.1874.32.6274.97
Cargo664.1751.587.413.161.65
Baggage1,100.81,215.5114.710.422.66
Reservation Changes730.8720.2-10.6-1.451.58
Transport-Related*7,248.17,251.43.30.0515.90
Other**1,336.41,477.5141.110.563.24
Total Operating Revenue***44,406.045,616.21,210.22.73100.00
Operating Expense
Fuel6,096.16,800.6704.511.5617.31
Labor12,748.013,589.0841.06.6034.59
Rentals2,227.52,259.031.51.415.75
Depreciation & Amortization2,116.62,305.8189.28.945.87
Landing Fees778.6812.033.44.292.07
Maintenance Materials607.9596.1-11.8-1.941.52
Transport-Related*4,614.74,831.2216.54.6912.30
Other****7,969.78,087.8118.11.4820.59
Total Operating Expense37,159.139,281.72,122.65.71100.00
Profits or Losses
Operating Profit7,246.96,334.5-912.4-12.59N/A
Operating Margin# (%)16.313.9-2.4N/AN/A
Nonoperating Income/(Expense)##-1,088.7-510.8577.9-53.08N/A
Pre-Tax Income6,158.2583.7-5,574.5-90.52N/A
Income Tax Benefit/(Expense)-2,349.2-2,080.7268.5-11.43N/A
Other Income/(Expense)0.00.00.00.0N/A
Net Income3,809.03,743.1-65.9-1.73N/A
Net Margin### (%)8.68.2-0.4N/AN/A
Notes: 
* Transport-Related is revenue/expenses from services which grow from and are incidental to the air transportation services performed by the air carrier. Examples are in-flight onboard sales (food, liquor, pillows, etc), code share revenues, revenues and expenses from associated businesses (aircraft maintenance, fuel sales, restaurants, vending machines, etc).  
** Other revenue includes miscellaneous operating revenue (including pet transportation, sale of frequent flyer award miles to airline business partners and standby passenger fees) and public service revenues subsidy.
*** Based on U.S. Department of Transportation accounting standards, Total Operating Revenues are overstated by code share revenues which are included in both the mainline Transport-Related Revenues and the code share Passenger Revenue. Code share revenues are expensed out in the mainline Transport-Related Expense to allow a true Operating Profit(Loss). This reporting may understate all components of operating revenue, including Passenger Revenue, as a percentage of Total Operating Revenue.
**** Other expense includes purchase of materials such as passenger food and other materials; and purchase of services such as advertising, communication, insurance, outside flight equipment maintenance, traffic commissions and other services. 
# Operating margin is the operating profit or loss as a percentage of operating revenue
## Nonoperating Income and Expense includes interest on long-term debt and capital leases, other interest expense, foreign exchange gains and losses, capital gains and losses and other income and expenses.
### Net margin is the net income or loss as a percentage of operating revenue.
Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Form 41; Schedules P1.2 and P6

Reports from 24 airlines in 3Q 2017, (Millions of dollars)
3Q 20163Q 2017Change2016-2017 % Change% of 3Q 2017 Revenue or Expense Total
Operating Revenue
Passenger Fares (scheduled/charter)23,598.424,117.4519.02.2071.67
Cargo235.0251.416.46.980.75
Baggage867.6950.182.59.512.82
Reservation Changes467.6464.7-2.9-0.621.38
Transport-Related*6,703.46,693.3-10.1-0.1519.89
Other**1,063.61,172.8109.210.273.49
Total Operating Revenue***32,935.633,649.7714.12.17100.00
Operating Expense
Fuel4,080.24,547.7467.511.4615.72
Labor9,171.99,726.0554.16.0433.63
Rentals1,717.21,711.0-6.2-0.365.92
Depreciation & Amortization1,517.41,616.298.86.515.59
Landing Fees588.8603.214.42.452.09
Maintenance Materials464.4456.9-7.5-1.611.58
Transport-Related*4,438.64,638.7200.14.5116.04
Other****5,516.05,624.0108.01.9619.44
Total Operating Expense27,494.528,923.71,429.25.20100.00
Profits or Losses
Operating Profit5,441.14,726.0-715.1-13.14N/A
Operating Margin# (%)16.514.0-2.5N/AN/A
Nonoperating Income/(Expense)##-1,002.7-415.7587.0-58.54N/A
Pre-Tax Income4,438.44,310.3-128.1-2.89N/A
Income Tax Benefit/(Expense)-1,854.2-1,672.0182.2-9.83N/A
Other Income/(Expense)0.00.00.00.0N/A
Net Income2,584.22,638.454.22.10N/A
Net Margin### (%)7.87.80.0N/AN/A
Notes: 
* Transport-Related is revenue/expenses from services which grow from and are incidental to the air transportation services performed by the air carrier. Examples are in-flight onboard sales (food, liquor, pillows, etc), code share revenues, revenues and expenses from associated businesses (aircraft maintenance, fuel sales, restaurants, vending machines, etc).  
** Other revenue includes miscellaneous operating revenue (including pet transportation, sale of frequent flyer award miles to airline business partners and standby passenger fees) and public service revenues subsidy.
*** Based on U.S. Department of Transportation accounting standards, Total Operating Revenues are overstated by code share revenues which are included in both the mainline Transport-Related Revenues and the code share Passenger Revenue. Code share revenues are expensed out in the mainline Transport-Related Expense to allow a true Operating Profit(Loss). This reporting may understate all components of operating revenue, including Passenger Revenue, as a percentage of Total Operating Revenue.
**** Other expense includes purchase of materials such as passenger food and other materials; and purchase of services such as advertising, communication, insurance, outside flight equipment maintenance, traffic commissions and other services. 
# Operating margin is the operating profit or loss as a percentage of operating revenue
## Nonoperating Income and Expense includes interest on long-term debt and capital leases, other interest expense, foreign exchange gains and losses, capital gains and losses and other income and expenses.
### Net margin is the net income or loss as a percentage of operating revenue.
 
Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Form 41; Schedules P1.2 and P6

Reports from 17 airlines in 3Q 2017, (Millions of dollars)
3Q 20163Q 2017Change2016-2017 % Change% of 3Q 2017 Revenue or Expense Total
Operating Revenue
Passenger Fares (scheduled/charter)9,727.410,082.7355.33.6584.26
Cargo429.1500.171.016.554.18
Baggage233.2265.432.213.812.22
Reservation Changes263.2255.5-7.7-2.932.14
Transport-Related*544.7558.113.42.464.66
Other**272.8304.731.911.692.55
Total Operating Revenue***11,470.411,966.5496.14.33100.00
Operating Expense
Fuel2,015.92,252.9237.011.7621.75
Labor3,576.13,863.0286.98.0237.29
Rentals510.3548.037.77.395.29
Depreciation & Amortization599.2689.690.415.096.66
Landing Fees189.8209.019.210.122.02
Maintenance Materials143.5139.2-4.3-3.001.34
Transport-Related*176.1192.516.49.311.86
Other****2,453.72,463.810.10.4123.79
Total Operating Expense9,664.610,358.0693.47.17100.00
Profits or Losses
Operating Profit1,805.81,608.5-197.3-10.93N/A
Operating Margin# (%)15.713.4-2.3N/AN/A
Nonoperating Income/(Expense)##-86.0-95.1-9.110.58N/A
Pre-Tax Income1,719.81,513.4-206.4-12.00N/A
Income Tax Benefit/(Expense)-495.0-408.786.3-17.43N/A
Other Income/(Expense)0.00.00.00.0N/A
Net Income1,224.81,104.7-120.1-9.81N/A
Net Margin### (%)10.79.2-1.4N/AN/A
Notes: 
* Transport-Related is revenue/expenses from services which grow from and are incidental to the air transportation services performed by the air carrier. Examples are in-flight onboard sales (food, liquor, pillows, etc), code share revenues, revenues and expenses from associated businesses (aircraft maintenance, fuel sales, restaurants, vending machines, etc).  
** Other revenue includes miscellaneous operating revenue (including pet transportation, sale of frequent flyer award miles to airline business partners and standby passenger fees) and public service revenues subsidy.
*** Based on U.S. Department of Transportation accounting standards, Total Operating Revenues are overstated by code share revenues which are included in both the mainline Transport-Related Revenues and the code share Passenger Revenue. Code share revenues are expensed out in the mainline Transport-Related Expense to allow a true Operating Profit(Loss). This reporting may understate all components of operating revenue, including Passenger Revenue, as a percentage of Total Operating Revenue.
**** Other expense includes purchase of materials such as passenger food and other materials; and purchase of services such as advertising, communication, insurance, outside flight equipment maintenance, traffic commissions and other services. 
# Operating margin is the operating profit or loss as a percentage of operating revenue
## Nonoperating Income and Expense includes interest on long-term debt and capital leases, other interest expense, foreign exchange gains and losses, capital gains and losses and other income and expenses.
### Net margin is the net income or loss as a percentage of operating revenue.
Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Form 41; Schedules P1.2 and P6

Updated: Monday, December 11, 2017