Key Financial Ratios for Airline Companies

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Key Financial Ratios for Airline Companies

Air travel facilitates commerce, travel, and the speedy transfer of products and people throughout the globe. The airline business is divided into four major groups, according to the United States Department of Transportation (DOT): international, national, regional, and cargo.

Regional flights serve a specific geographic region, while cargo carriers convey items rather than people. International planes often transport more than 130 people between countries. National flights carry 100 to 150 people and travel across the United States.

Domestic airlines made their first profit since COVID-19 in the second quarter of 2021, earning $1 billion. Profits almost quadrupled to $2.7 billion in the third quarter of 2021.

Key Takeaways

  • The airline business is extremely competitive and seasonal.
  • Profits may also be impacted by volatile energy costs and economic downturns.
  • Investors examine airline firms using financial metrics such as short-term liquidity, profitability, and long-term solvency.
  • Investors look at key financial parameters such as the quick ratio, ROA, and debt-to-capitalization ratio.

Analyzing Airline Companies

Competition among airlines is strong. Profitability in the aviation sector is extremely seasonal, and swings in energy costs or economic downturns may have an impact. When examining the future health of an airline business, investors cannot always forecast environmental or market issues, but they may use specific financial indicators to gauge the firm’s stability.

Short-term liquidity, profitability, and long-term solvency are examples of these indicators. The quick ratio, return on assets (ROA), and debt-to-capitalization ratio are three key financial measures often analyzed by market analysts or investors.

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Quick Ratio

The quick ratio is used by analysts to assess an airline’s short-term liquidity and cash flow. Essentially, the quick ratio demonstrates whether a company’s liquid assets, defined as cash or quick assets, can pay all of its short-term debt commitments. Quick assets may be immediately converted to cash in an amount equal to their current book value.

A company’s liquid assets are divided by its current liabilities in the quick ratio formula. This score indicates a company’s overall financial strength or weakness. If a corporation is unable to satisfy its short-term financial commitments using readily accessible liquid assets, it may be forced to declare bankruptcy.

Because airline firms are capital-intensive and have high levels of debt, this financial ratio is especially valuable for studying them. The faster the ratio, the better. Any value less than one is considered negative. In addition to the quick ratio, other indicators to consider include the current ratio and the working capital ratio.

Return on Assets (ROA)

Return on assets evaluates profitability by demonstrating the profit per dollar of assets earned by a firm. Because an airline company’s principal assets, its aircraft, provide the majority of its income, this statistic is an especially relevant indicator of profitability.

ROA is calculated by dividing net income by total assets of the firm. The outcome is represented as a percentage. Because airlines hold huge assets, even a low ROA implies considerable absolute earnings. Investors may also examine the operational profit margin and the earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) margin.

Debt-to-Capitalization Ratio

The total debt-to-capitalization ratio is an important indicator for studying airlines since it accurately assesses the debt situation and overall financial health of enterprises with considerable capital expenditures. This financial statistic is used by analysts and investors to assess firms in an industry that often has to resist protracted economic or market downturns, resulting in periods of revenue loss or reduced profit margins.

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Total debt divided by total available capital yields the debt-to-capitalization ratio. Analysts and investors like to see ratios less than one because they indicate a reduced overall degree of financial risk. The total-debt-to-total-equity ratio and the total-debt-to-total-assets ratio are two alternative ratios for assessing long-term financial solvency.

Investors look at a variety of specialized aviation sector performance measures in addition to these fundamental financial ratios. Available seat miles, cost per available seat mile, break-even load factor, and revenue per available seat mile are among the performance analysis measures.

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