The month of September is in the rearview mirror and that's just fine for a lot of people and businesses affected by one of the most disruptive hurricane seasons in years. Southwest Airlines (LUV 58.29), the nation's leading discount carrier, was among them, having canceled approximately 5,000 flights through September 27 due to the impacts from the natural disasters that weighed heavily on Texas, Florida, and the Caribbean.
Earlier today, Southwest Airlines put a punctuation point on September when it released its September traffic results. Not surprisingly, those results featured year-over-year declines across all reported metrics.
Revenue passenger miles decreased 4.5% to 9.5 billion, available seat miles dropped 1.6% to 11.6 billion, and the airline's load factor slipped to 81.7% from 84.2%.
Southwest Airlines laid the groundwork for the September traffic update in a Form 8-K filing with the SEC on September 28 in which it provided revised third quarter estimates to reflect the impact of the hurricanes.
Following its second quarter report in July, Southwest Airlines estimated year-over-year RASM growth for the third quarter to be approximately one percent. After Hurricane Harvey swamped Texas in late August, however, Southwest Airlines curtailed its RASM growth guidance to down one percent to slightly up.
In the aforementioned SEC filing, which was made in the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, Southwest Airlines said it expected third quarter operating revenue per available seat mile (RASM) to be flat to down 1% from the same period a year ago.
The company reiterated its RASM guidance in today's traffic update for September.
Shares of LUV, which have rallied 17% from their September 6 low, are trading 1.2% higher in pre-market action.