Now that all the airlines have reported full-year 2016 profits, who had the best operating margins? Allegiant was tops at 30%. Allegiant flies really old jets it buys outright. No costly lease payments. But full service Alaska Airlines had a 23% operating margin. That’s the same as European no-frill carrier Ryanair, whose CEO infamously joked that he might charge to use the lavatory. Then Southwest, 21%, and JetBlue, 20%, both discount carriers.
Hawaiian Airlines was next at 18%.
And the big three? Delta, 18%, American, 16%, United, 14%. Mind you, all these airlines are profitable. And the difference between one percentage and another may be something that’s bad for the flier. Allegiant, for example, is notorious for canceling flights that aren’t full.
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