Strong booking flow, increased revenue, and lower cost
May 24, 2022
- Booking flow is strong and load factor growing
- PLAY has carried approx. 230 thousand passengers to date with approx. 60 thousand passengers in the first quarter of 2022
- The financial position of the company is strong. Cash and cash equivalents on the 31st of March amounted to USD 42.12 million. The equity ratio was 22% and the company has no external interest-bearing debt
- EBIT was negative in the first quarter of 2022 in the amount of USD 13.3 million, as expected as the company has yet to reach economies of scale. The Omicron variant impacted revenue during the quarter and the war in Ukraine resulted in higher fuel prices towards the end of the quarter, impacting financial results negatively
- PLAY has started the process of implementing fuel hedges
- Cost of Available Seat Kilometer (CASK) excl. fuel is rapidly decreasing with the increased operation, and PLAY continues to work its way toward operational profit
- Revenue (RASK) is increasing rapidly
During Q1, the main focus was on preparing for the airlines‘ operational ramp-up before the summer schedule and the hub-and-spoke operation, including hiring and training new employees, preparing 15 new destination airports, and adding to the fleet.
In January, PLAY carried 13,488 passengers with a load factor of 55.7%. In February the load factor was 67.1% and PLAY carried 19,686 passengers. The load factor was 66.9% in March and PLAY carried 23,667 passengers, which is a 20% increase from the previous month. A surge in COVID-19 cases at the end of 2021 caused hesitation amongst passengers to book their travel and had a negative impact on booking inflow for Q1.
Forward bookings continue to strengthen
Booking inflow started to improve in January, with 95% more sold seats compared to December 2021. In February, this positive trend continued with 59% more sold seats compared to January, despite the war in Ukraine. This improvement in booking inflow has continued into the second quarter of 2022, with 336% more sold seats in April compared to January, also reflecting more capacity. In April the load factor was 72.4% and we saw over 50% increase in passengers from the previous month.
Strong cash position and lower CASK
As expected, EBIT was negative in the amount of USD 13.3 million in the first quarter of 2022, as the company has yet to reach economies of scale. The Omicron variant impacted revenue during the quarter and the war in Ukraine resulted in higher fuel price towards the end of the quarter, both impacting the company’s financial results negatively.
PLAY continues to hold a strong financial position with cash and cash equivalents on the 31st of March amounted to USD 42.12 million. The equity ratio was 22% and the company has no external interest bearing debt.
PLAY has been successful in keeping costs down and CASK has been decreasing with increased operations. PLAY anticipates positive operating results in the latter half of this year with CASK excl. fuel steadily decreasing. PLAY foresees to reach its goal of CASK excl. fuel under 4 cents in summer 2022.
Loss amounted to USD 11.2 million for the first three months of 2022 compared to 0.4 USD million for the same period last year, before PLAY started flight operations.
Steps taken towards implementing PLAY‘s fuel hedging policy
PLAY has started the process of implementing its fuel hedging policy. A fuel hedging agreement has been made with Skeljungur which is in line with the hedging policy. A first conservative step has been taken in implementing the policy, and the volatile economic and world situation will be continued to be monitored closely for further steps to be taken. However, the fuel surcharge put in place in March manages to mitigate a notable portion of the fuel price increase.
Changing our fleet mix due to higher fuel prices
In the summer 2022, PLAY was planning to have three Airbus A321neo, one Airbus A321neo Long Range (LR) and two Airbus A320neo. Due to the high price of fuel, PLAY has decided to change its fleet plan for summer 2022, and instead of leasing an Airbus A321neo LR, PLAY will lease an Airbus A320neo at more favorable terms, thus securing an even lower cost base in the long term. As a result, the planned three times weekly Orlando service that was supposed to start on 30 September 2022 will not commence. Following this change, PLAY’s fleet in summer 2022 will consist of three Airbus A321neo and three Airbus A320neo.
Expanded network ensures increased utilization of aircraft and other resources
In the second quarter of 2022, PLAY will expand its network as new destinations in Europe and North America are added. In April, PLAY launched service to Baltimore/Washington D.C. and Dublin. So far in May, PLAY has launched services to Prague, Boston, Lisbon, Gothenburg, and Brussels. From now until the end of May, PLAY will launch services to Stavanger, Malaga, and Trondheim. In June, PLAY will launch services to Palma de Mallorca, Bologna, and New York.
The total number of seats on sale in the second quarter of 2022 will be 167% more than the company offered in the first quarter of 2022. This expanded network will result in improved utilization of aircraft and other resources. As a result, PLAY’s unit cost (CASK), excluding fuel and costs related to emissions units, is expected to be considerably reduced in the second quarter of 2022 compared to the previous year.
“As we close the first quarter of 2022, we see and feel a growing demand in the market and a great response to our new destinations. PLAY has clearly gained momentum, market share, and strength very quickly. After a challenging winter, it is good to see this positive feeling materialize in an increased load factor and a growing number of passengers month after month. This quarter, we took steps towards expanding our fleet, staff number, network, and we are confident that we are increasing our capacity at the right time as market demand has clearly recovered. PLAY will start operations to twelve new destinations in Europe and the U.S in May and June. This means that in summer 2022, PLAY will serve 26 destinations on both sides of the Atlantic, so it is safe to say that we have some very exciting times ahead. PLAY is heading into the spring and summer with a strong booking and financial position. We expect that utilization will continue to improve in the coming months with the addition of the VIA market to PLAY’s network as we have started connecting cities in Europe and the United States. The team at PLAY has worked tirelessly towards the goal of launching the transatlantic operation as well as our many new European destinations, and it has been great to watch all the pieces come together thanks to their precision, professionalism, and skills,“ says Birgir Jónsson, CEO.
Investor presentation webcast, May 25, 2022
CEO Birgir Jónsson and CFO Þóra Eggertsdóttir will present the company’s results on Wednesday, May 25, at 08:30 a.m. The presentation will be streamed via webcast followed by a live Q&A session at https://flyplay.com/investor-relations.