Alaska Airlines buys back stock worth $18 million despite Q1 2023 loss

Despite a net loss of $142 million, Alaska Airlines still repurchased $18 million of its own stock
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Alaska Airlines loss-making Q1 2023 did not stop the airline from repurchasing its own stocks. 

The Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA)-based airline finished the three-month period, ending on March 31, 2023, with a net loss of $142 million, $1 million less than in Q1 2022. It earned $2.1 million of revenue, spending $2.3 billion and $13 million on operating and non-operating expenses, respectively, in Q1 2023. 

However, Alaska Airlines still bought back shares worth $18 million, and expects to spend a total of $100 million to repurchase its own stock throughout the year. By the end of Q1 2023, the airline held $2.4 in unrestricted cash and marketable securities. 

“This quarter we returned to pre-pandemic levels of flying and our roadmap to profitable growth is on track,” said Ben Minicucci, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Alaska Airlines. According to Minicucci, the airline is taking “deliberate steps to build momentum and we are well prepared for peak summer flying”. 

The executive believes Alaska Airlines is on target to deliver a 9% to 12% adjusted pre-tax margin in 2023. Meanwhile, in Q2 2023, the carrier expects to achieve an adjusted pre-tax margin of between 14% and 17%, with capacity, measured in Available Seat Miles (ASM), would be 6% to 9% compared to Q2 2022. 

Throughout the quarter it also spent $13 million (Q1 2022: $75 million) on “impairment charges and accelerated costs associated with the retirement of Airbus and Q400 aircraft”.  

According to data, Alaska Airlines retired one Airbus A319 and 15 A320 aircraft between January 1, 2023, and April 19, 2023. Meanwhile, Horizon Air, its regional affiliate, phased out 12 De Havilland Canada DHC Dash 8-400 aircraft, while six are currently in maintenance. 

Boeing delivered six Boeing 737 MAX-9 aircraft to Alaska Airlines in Q1 2023, bringing Alaska Airlines’ total 737 MAX-9 fleet count to 43 aircraft at the end of the quarter. Boeing’s Orders & Deliveries data, as of March 31, 2023, shows that the manufacturer still has to deliver 102 737 MAX aircraft to the carrier. 

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