Spirit Airlines, Inc. (NYSE:SAVE) today reported first quarter 2018 financial results.

For the first quarter 2018, Spirit reported a GAAP net loss of $44.9 million (loss of $0.66 per diluted share). Excluding special items, first quarter 2018 net income was $29.9 million ($0.44 per diluted share)1.

GAAP operating margin for the first quarter 2018 was negative 5.5 percent. Excluding special items, operating margin for the first quarter 2018 was 7.3 percent1.

Spirit ended the first quarter 2018 with unrestricted cash, cash equivalents, and short-term investments of $999.7 million.
“We ran a very good operation in the first quarter 2018, despite numerous winter storms. We achieved a record high March DOT on-time performance of 85.1 percent, an increase of 10.1 percentage points year over year, contributing to a record high first quarter DOT on-time performance of 83.4 percent. I congratulate and thank the Spirit family for delivering this operational excellence. I’m also pleased to say that during the quarter, we finalized a five-year contract with our pilot union. This new contract provides our pilots increased wage rates and gives the Company the platform to further improve our operational reliability,” said Robert Fornaro, Spirit’s Chief Executive Officer.

Revenue Performance
For the first quarter 2018, Spirit's total operating revenue was $704.1 million, an increase of 19.4 percent compared to the first quarter 2017, driven by a 14.4 percent increase in flight volume.

Total revenue per available seat mile ("TRASM") for the first quarter 2018 decreased 2.4 percent compared to the same period last year, primarily driven by a 1.7 percent decrease in operating yields and a 4.1 percent increase in average stage length. During the first quarter 2018, the Company's results benefited from the calendar shift of Easter by approximately 200 basis points.

On a per passenger flight segment basis, total revenue for the first quarter 2018 increased 1.7 percent year over year to $107.71, driven by non-ticket revenue per passenger flight segment increasing 5.9 percent to $55.292, partially offset by fare revenue per passenger flight segment decreasing 2.4 percent to $52.42.

Cost Performance
For the first quarter 2018, total GAAP operating expense, including special items of $90.0 million3, increased 39.8 percent, or $211.3 million year over year to $742.9 million. The year-over-year increase in GAAP operating expense was primarily driven by special charges in connection with the new pilot agreement approved in February 2018; increased flight volume; and higher fuel rates.

Adjusted operating expense for the first quarter 2018 increased 24.2 percent, or $127.2 million to $652.9 million4. The year-over-year increase in adjusted operating expense was primarily driven by increases in flight volume, salaries, wages and benefits, and fuel rates. In addition, higher rates for crew lodging and ground handling, along with greater deicing expense, drove an increase in other operating expense.

Aircraft fuel expense increased in the first quarter 2018 by 46.4 percent, or $64.9 million, compared to the same period last year, due to a 21.5 percent increase in the cost of fuel per gallon and a 20.2 percent increase in fuel gallons consumed.

Spirit reported first quarter 2018 cost per available seat mile ("ASM"), excluding special items and fuel (“Adjusted CASM ex-fuel”), of 5.33 cents4, a decrease of 5.0 percent compared to the same period last year. The decrease year over year was primarily driven by lower aircraft rent per ASM.

Spirit and its pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, announced the ratification of a new five-year working agreement in February 2018.

Spirit took delivery of five new A321ceo aircraft and one new A320ceo aircraft during the first quarter 2018, ending the quarter with 118 aircraft in its fleet.

Aircraft Agreement
On March 28, 2018, the Company entered into an agreement with an aircraft lessor to purchase 14 A319 aircraft, which the Company was operating under lease agreements. The purchases of all 14 aircraft are scheduled throughout the second quarter of 2018, for an aggregate gross purchase price of $285.0 million, which will be reduced by the application of maintenance reserves and security deposits held by the lessor. Effective March 31, 2018, the lease agreements associated with these aircraft will be classified as capital leases on the balance sheet until the closing of each individual sale. All transactions are anticipated to be completed prior to June 30, 2018.

Recent New Routes and Service Announcements
Columbus, Ohio - Fort Lauderdale (02/15/2018)
Columbus, Ohio - Orlando (02/15/2018)
Columbus, Ohio - Las Vegas (02/15/2018)
Columbus, Ohio - Fort Myers (02/15/18)*
Columbus, Ohio - Tampa (02/15/2018)*
Richmond - Fort Lauderdale (03/15/2018)
Richmond - Orlando (03/15/2018)
Fort Lauderdale - Guayaquil, Ecuador (03/22/2018)
Baltimore - Denver (03/22/2018)
Baltimore - Montego Bay (03/22/2018)
Columbus, Ohio - Myrtle Beach (03/22/2018)*
Columbus, Ohio - New Orleans (03/22/2018)*
Atlantic City - New Orleans (04/12/2018)
Fort Lauderdale - St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands (05/24/2018)