UBS Warburg sees several airlines doing well financially on the backs of their federal welfare payments. Turns out this ’emergency aid’ came at a time when business was picking up anyway.
- “As carriers cash their welfare . . . er, security refund checks, it’s safe to do a little Monday morning quarterbacking on the economics of the more recent federal airline bailout,” Buttrick said.
“Essentially, a $2 billion war investment netted the industry $2.5 billion. As wars go, this was a good one for airline economics. Now if airlines could only run their core business as well,” Buttrick said.
Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines got the biggest security reimbursement, $390 million, and has received about $1 billion from the two aid packages combined.
Buttrick is cutting his 2003 loss estimate for the industry to $7 billion from $7.8 billion, citing the federal aid, mildly improving revenue trends for the late spring and summer, and cost cutting labor deals at various companies.
“Each of the four primary profit drivers — capacity, oil, labor and demand — is getting better . . . but it’s far from good,” Buttrick said.