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Capacity Growth: Is Alaska Air Group Reducing the Pace?

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Capacity growth

For November 2016, Alaska Air Group’s capacity rose 2.8% YoY (year-over-year). It’s the slowest growth in any month in 2016. After an average growth of 13% in 1Q16, growth slowed down to 11% in 2Q16. It’s slowing down more in the third quarter. Year-to-date in December 2016, Alaska Air Group’s average capacity growth was 9.2% YoY.

Alaska’s mainline capacity tracked the group’s performance. For November 2016, Alaska Air Group’s mainline capacity grew 1.7% YoY. For 2Q16, mainline capacity growth averaged 12%. For 1Q16, capacity growth averaged at 10%. YTD in December 2016, Alaska Air Group’s mainline capacity grew 8.3% YoY—slightly lower than the group’s capacity growth.

Alaska’s regional capacity, mainly operated by subsidiary Horizon Air, grew at a much higher rate in 2016. The pace has slowed down since July. For November 2016, regional capacity grew 12.6% YoY. YTD in November 2016, regional capacity grew 17.3% YoY.

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What to expect

Alaska expects capacity growth to slow down to 3% YoY for 4Q16. It would take Alaska Air Group’s growth to ~8.5% YoY in 2016.

Although the growth is slower than Alaska Air Group’s growth in 2015, it’s still higher than the capacity growth guidance for its legacy peers American Airlines (AAL), Delta Air Lines (DAL), and United Continental Holdings (UAL). All of the remaining three carriers are expected to grow their 2016 capacity by ~2%.

Alaska Air Group (ALK) forms 2.8% of the First Trust Rising Dividend Achievers ETF’s (RDVY) holdings.

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