by Aaron Karp
Panama-based Copa Holdings reported a first-quarter 2018 net profit of $136.5 million, up 35.1% over net income of $101 million in the 2017 March quarter, as strong demand overcame rising fuel prices.
“Copa Holdings’ first-quarter results reflect a healthy demand environment and great execution,” Copa management said in a statement accompanying the quarterly financial figures. “Higher load factors and yields produced a significant unit revenue improvement, which outpaced an oil-driven increase in unit costs and resulted in a year-over-year [YOY] margin expansion.”
Copa is the parent company of Copa Airlines and Copa Airlines Colombia. It also operates Wingo-branded ultra-LCC flights out of Colombia.
Copa’s first-quarter revenue increased 16.2% YOY to $715 million while expenses rose 14.5% to $571.6 million, including a 27.6% jump in fuel costs to $174 million. Operating profit for the three months was $143.4 million, up 23.4% over operating income of $116.2 million in the 2017 first quarter.
Copa’s first-quarter traffic increased 10.4% YOY to 5.2 billion RPMs on an 8.4% rise in capacity to 6.3 billion ASMs, producing a load factor of 8.4%, up 1.5 points. Yield improved 5.3% YOY to 13.3 cents.
Copa ended the quarter with a consolidated fleet of 100 aircraft, comprising 67 Boeing 737-800s, 14 737-700s and 19 Embraer E190s. In April, Copa took delivery of another 737-800, so its fleet now stands at 101 aircraft.