Chorus Aviation

By Victoria May 10, 2013 13:00

Chorus Aviation

Chorus Aviation, parent of Jazz, AirCanada Express and Chorus Leasing, has reported operating revenue of $416.3 million for the first quarter of 2013, a decrease of $20.8 million or 4.8% over the same period last year.
Passenger revenue, excluding pass-through costs, decreased by $6.4 million or 2.5% primarily as a result of no activity in the quarter for Thomas Cook; offset by rate increases made pursuant to the CPA with Air Canada, an increase in Billable Block Hours of 0.8%, a $0.2 million increase in incentives earned under the CPA, and a higher US dollar exchange rate. Pass-through costs decreased from $176.7 million to $162.0 million; a decrease of $14.7 million or 8.3%, which included a decrease of $1.8 million related to fuel costs. Other revenue increased by $0.2 million.
Operating expenses decreased from $407.4 million to $395.5 million, a decrease of $12.0 million or 2.9%. Controllable Costs increased by $2.7 million, or 1.2%; offset by a decrease in pass-through costs of $14.7 million.
Salaries, wages and benefits increased by $3.1 million primarily as a result of voluntary employee severance costs related to flight crew and maintenance employees, wage and scale increases under new collective agreements, and increased pension expense resulting from a revised actuarial valuation; offset by a reduction in the number of full time equivalent employees and higher capitalized salaries and wages related to major maintenance overhauls.
Depreciation and amortization expense increased by $0.5 million, primarily related to the purchase of Q400 aircraft, increased capital expenditures on aircraft rotable parts and other equipment, and increased major maintenance overhauls; offset by certain assets having reached full amortization and a change in estimate related to the residual value of the Dash 8-100 and 300 aircraft.
Aircraft maintenance expense decreased by $2.4 million as a result of a $4.6 million reduction related to no activity for Thomas Cook; offset by an increase in engine maintenance activity due to engine charges for the CRJ705 and Dash 8 – 300 aircraft of $1.2 million, increased other maintenance costs of $0.5 million and an increase in the US-dollar exchange rate on certain material purchases of $0.5 million.
Aircraft rent decreased by $5.4 million primarily as a result of no expense in the quarter for Thomas Cook aircraft and the return of CRJ aircraft.
Other expenses increased by $1.3 million primarily due to increased professional fees, increased travel and training costs associated with the Q400 aircraft and increased general overhead expenses.
Non-operating expenses increased by $9.0 million. This change was mainly attributable to an increase in foreign exchange of $8.8 million (of which $8.9 million was related to an increase in unrealized foreign exchange loss on long-term debt and finance leases) and increased interest expense related to Q400 aircraft financing of $1.0 million; offset by $0.8 million in other income related to a government grant.
EBITDA was $34.2 million compared to $42.6 million in 2012, a decrease of $8.4 million or 19.6%, producing an EBITDA margin of 8.2%. Standardized Free Cash Flow was negative $110.9 million, impacted primarily by the continuing growth capital expenditures related to the purchase of Q400 aircraft.
Operating income of $20.8 million was down $8.8 million or 29.7% over first quarter 2012 from $29.6 million.
Net income for the first quarter of 2013 was $9.2 million or $0.07 per basic share, a decrease of $17.0 million or 64.9% from $26.2 million or $0.21 per basic share. On an adjusted basis, net income was $14.7 million or $0.12 per basic share, a decrease of 35.4% or $0.06 per basic share from $22.8 million or $0.18 per basic share.
“The first quarter delivered solid results; however, two items negatively impacted the bottom line,” said Joseph Randell, President and Chief Executive Officer, Chorus. “In our continued efforts to improve operational efficiency and to reduce costs, we enacted a voluntary separation program for our more senior pilots and maintenance employees. The severance cost of $5.7 million will provide a return within the next two years as ongoing operational costs are reduced. This expense, when factored with the unrealized foreign exchange loss of $5.6 million into the adjusted net income for the quarter, increases earnings per share to the current market consensus of $0.17 per basic share.”

By Victoria May 10, 2013 13:00
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