Hawaiian Airlines posts 4th quarter loss

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaiian Airlines lost $3 million in the fourth quarter but still ended full year 2012 with a $53 million profit, the airline reported Tuesday.

"A good year of growth and improving financial performance was finished off by a disappointing breakeven result in the fourth quarter," CEO Mark Dunkerley said in a statement.

Those figures use general accepted accounting procedures. Hawaiian itself prefers to tally its bottom line using "economic fuel expense," to dial out the effects of fuel hedging, and by that accounting the airline was slightly in the black for the fourth quarter and made $56 million profit for the year. Hawaiian said its adjusted operating margin was 7 percent for the year.

"The sharp weakening of the yen, continued excess capacity in certain markets and an accounting charge all worked to depress our earnings for the period despite many other things going right for the business," Dunkerley said.

Operating cost per available seat mile fell 7 percent in 2012 with a greater year-to-year decline, 11 percent, in the fourth quarter. In 2012 the jet fuel bill, plus taxes and oil costs, rose 23 percent to nearly $632 million, while payroll and benefits grew 17 percent to $377 million.

Hawaiian hired 600 more employees in 2012 as it added four new long-distance routes - Fukuoka, New York, Sapporo and Brisbane - increased frequency on several other routes and opened a hub on Maui. An out-of-period frequent flyer adjustment made a $7 million difference in fourth quarter results.

Hawaiian is scheduled to take delivery on five more Airbus A330-200 jetliners in 2013 and has already lined up financing for the four that will be delivered in the first six months. At the same time, four Boeing 767-300ER will leave the fleet. In 2012 Hawaiian added four A330-200s while adding two Boeing 717-200s to interisland service.

This year Hawaiian launches Auckland service in March, Taipei flights in May, and additional Maui flights to Los Angeles over the summer.

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