Spirit Airlines, Inc.
Feb 9, 2016

Spirit Airlines Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2015 Results

MIRAMAR, Fla., Feb. 09, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Spirit Airlines, Inc. (NASDAQ:SAVE) today reported fourth quarter and full year 2015 financial results.

"I want to thank and congratulate our Spirit team members for successfully delivering solid financial results in 2015.  Although increased industry capacity and aggressive competitive pricing pressured our unit revenues, our excellent cost execution and ability to adapt to a changing environment drove improved year-over-year results," said Bob Fornaro, Spirit's Chief Executive Officer.  "I am excited to lead this innovative team.  As CEO, I plan to improve upon the already very strong base of fundamentals that Spirit possesses with a focus on continuing to improve operational reliability and customer service, and maintaining our financial discipline to drive value for all of Spirit's stakeholders."

Revenue Performance
For the fourth quarter 2015, Spirit's total operating revenue was $519.8 million, an increase of 9.6 percent compared to the fourth quarter 2014, driven by an increase in flight volume, partially offset by a decrease in operating yields.

Total revenue per passenger flight segment ("PFS") for the fourth quarter 2015 decreased 12.6 percent year over year to $111.78, primarily driven by a 21.4 percent decrease in ticket revenue per PFS.  The decline in ticket revenue per PFS was driven by lower fare levels as a result of increased competitive pricing pressures as well as a higher percentage of Spirit's markets being under development compared to the same period last year.  Non-ticket revenue remained stable, declining only 0.8 percent year over year on a per flight segment basis to $54.26.

Cost Performance
Adjusted operating expenses for the fourth quarter 2015 increased 5.6 percent to $401.2 million3.  GAAP total operating expenses increased 3.9 percent year over year to $399.5 million.  Operating expenses benefited from fuel expense decreasing 23.8 percent, or $32.8 million, on a fuel volume increase of 27.9 percent.

Spirit reported fourth quarter 2015 cost per available seat mile ("ASM") excluding special items and fuel ("Adjusted CASM ex-fuel")3 of 5.15 cents, a decrease of 8.2 percent compared to the same period last year, driven primarily by lower aircraft rent per ASM and lower labor expense per ASM.  The decrease in aircraft rent per ASM was driven by a change in the mix of leased (rent recorded under aircraft rent) and purchased (depreciation recorded under depreciation and amortization) aircraft. Labor expense per ASM in the fourth quarter 2015 was lower compared to the same period last year primarily due to scale benefits from overall growth and from larger gauge aircraft.  These decreases were partially offset by higher depreciation and amortization expense related to the depreciation of aircraft.

"Spirit's cost performance in the fourth quarter and throughout 2015 should be a source of pride for all our team members," said Ted Christie, Spirit's Chief Financial Officer. "Our ultra-low cost structure is the foundation of our competitive advantage, providing us the platform to define our future."

Spirit took delivery of three new A321ceo aircraft during the fourth quarter 2015.

Full Year 2015 Highlights

Conference Call/Webcast Detail
Spirit will conduct a conference call to discuss these results today, February 9, 2016, at 8:00 a.m. ET.  A live audio webcast of the conference call will be available to the public on a listen-only basis at http://ir.spirit.com.  An archive of the webcast will be available under Webcasts & Presentations for 60 days.

About Spirit Airlines:
Spirit Airlines (NASDAQ:SAVE) is committed to offering the lowest total price to the places we fly, on average much lower than other airlines. Our customers start with an unbundled, stripped-down Bare Fare™ and get Frill Control™ which allows them to pay only for the options they choose - like bags, seat assignments and refreshments - the things other airlines bake right into their ticket prices. We help people save money and travel more often, create new jobs and stimulate business growth in the communities we serve. With our Fit Fleet™, the youngest fleet of any major US airline, we operate more than 385 daily flights to 56 destinations in the U.S., Latin America and the Caribbean. Come save with us at www.spirit.com.

Investors are encouraged to read the Company's periodic and current reports filed with or furnished to the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its Annual Report on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, and Current Reports on Form 8-K, for additional information regarding the Company.

End Notes
(1)  See "Reconciliation of Adjusted Net Income to GAAP Net Income" table below for more details.
(2)  See "Calculation for Return on Invested Capital" table below for more details.
(3)  See "Reconciliation of Adjusted Operating Expense to GAAP Operating Expense" table below for more details.

Forward-Looking Statements
Statements in this release and certain oral statements made from time to time by representatives of the Company contain various forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the Securities Act), and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the Exchange Act) which are subject to the "safe harbor" created by those sections. Forward-looking statements are based on our management's beliefs and assumptions and on information currently available to our management. All statements other than statements of historical facts are "forward-looking statements" for purposes of these provisions. In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements by terms such as "may," "will," "should," "could," "would," "expect," "plan," "anticipate," "believe," "estimate," "project," "predict," "potential," and similar expressions intended to identify forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements are subject to risks, uncertainties and other important factors that could cause actual results and the timing of certain events to differ materially from future results expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause or contribute to such differences include, but are not limited to, those identified below. Furthermore, such forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this report. Except as required by law, we undertake no obligation to update any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date of such statements. Additional risks or uncertainties (i) that are not currently known to us, (ii) that we currently deem to be immaterial, or (iii) that could apply to any company, could also materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, or future results. You should carefully consider the risks described below and the other information in this report. If any of the following risks materialize, our business could be materially harmed, and our financial condition and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected. References in this report to "Spirit," "we," "us," "our," or the "Company" shall mean Spirit Airlines, Inc., unless the context indicates otherwise.  Additional information concerning these and other factors is contained in the Company's Securities and Exchange Commission filings, including but not limited to the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, and Current Reports on Form 8-K.

Statement of Operations
(unaudited, in thousands, except per share data)
 Three Months Ended   Year Ended  
 December 31, Percent December 31, Percent
 2015 2014 Change 2015 2014 Change
Operating revenues:           
Passenger$267,487  $271,569  (1.5) $1,169,338  $1,144,972  2.1 
Non-ticket252,359  202,918  24.4  972,125  786,608  23.6 
Total operating revenues519,846  474,487  9.6  2,141,463  1,931,580  10.9 
Operating expenses:           
Aircraft fuel105,215  138,002  (23.8) 461,447  612,909  (24.7)
Salaries, wages and benefits97,035  81,212  19.5  378,210  313,988  20.5 
Aircraft rent52,091  51,209  1.7  211,531  195,827  8.0 
Landing fees and other rents32,590  27,533  18.4  131,077  105,115  24.7 
Distribution20,656  15,893  30.0  86,576  74,823  15.7 
Maintenance, materials and repairs18,544  17,515  5.9  80,448  73,956  8.8 
Depreciation and amortization22,278  13,168  69.2  73,908  46,971  57.3 
Other operating50,796  38,630  31.5  206,867  149,675  38.2 
Loss on disposal of assets304  1,350  nm  1,604  3,008  nm 
Special charges    nm  673  45  nm 
Total operating expenses399,509  384,512  3.9  1,632,341  1,576,317  3.6 
Operating income120,337  89,975  33.7  509,122  355,263  43.3 
Other (income) expense:           
Interest expense7,200  1,659  nm  20,382  2,747  nm 
Capitalized interest(3,161) (1,659) nm  (11,553) (2,747) nm 
Interest income(1,581) (101) nm  (2,125) (336) nm 
Other expense(267) 1,048  nm  15  2,605  nm 
Total other (income) expense2,191  947  nm  6,719  2,269  nm 
Income before income taxes118,146  89,028  32.7  502,403  352,994  42.3 
Provision for income taxes43,746  33,119  32.1  185,183  127,530  45.2 
Net income$74,400  $55,909  33.1  $317,220  $225,464  40.7 
Basic earnings per share$1.04  $0.77  35.1  $4.39  $3.10  41.6 
Diluted earnings per share$1.04  $0.76  36.8  $4.38  $3.08  42.2 
Weighted average shares, basic71,543  72,776  (1.7) 72,208  72,739  (0.7)
Weighted average shares, diluted71,672  73,324  (2.3) 72,426  73,294  (1.2)

Statements of Comprehensive Income
(unaudited, in thousands)
 Three Months Ended Year Ended
 December 31, December 31,
 2015 2014 2015 2014
Net income$74,400  $55,909  $317,220  $225,464 
Unrealized gain (loss) on interest rate derivative instruments, net of deferred tax expense (benefit) of $34, ($423), ($500), and $(423), respectively in each period.58  (718) (828) (718)
Other comprehensive income (loss)$58  $(718) $(828) $(718)
Comprehensive income$74,458  $55,191  $316,392  $224,746 

Balance Sheets
(unaudited, in thousands)
 December 31, December 31,
 2015 2014
Current assets:   
Cash and cash equivalents$803,632  $632,784 
Accounts receivable, net28,266  22,685 
Aircraft maintenance deposits73,415  29,172 
Prepaid income taxes72,278   
Prepaid expenses and other current assets48,749  36,857 
Total current assets1,026,340  721,498 
Property and equipment:   
Flight equipment827,282  204,462 
Ground and other equipment82,459  57,012 
Less accumulated depreciation(65,524) (36,099)
 844,217  225,375 
Deposits on flight equipment purchase contracts286,837  242,881 
Long-term aircraft maintenance deposits206,485  213,147 
Deferred heavy maintenance, net89,127  123,108 
Other long-term assets77,539  66,744 
Total assets$2,530,545  $1,592,753 
Liabilities and shareholders' equity   
Current liabilities:   
Accounts payable$17,043  $13,402 
Air traffic liability216,831  188,870 
Current maturities of long-term debt49,637  10,431 
Other current liabilities182,729  152,921 
Total current liabilities466,240  365,624 
Long-term debt less current maturities596,693  135,232 
Long-term deferred income taxes221,481  66,367 
Deferred gains and other long-term liabilities20,821  22,455 
Shareholders' equity:   
Common stock7  7 
Additional paid-in-capital544,277  526,173 
Treasury stock, at cost(116,182) (3,921)
Retained earnings798,754  481,534 
Accumulated other comprehensive loss(1,546) (718)
Total shareholders' equity1,225,310  1,003,075 
Total liabilities and shareholders' equity$2,530,545  $1,592,753 

Note: The Company adopted ASU 2015-17, Balance Sheet Classification of Deferred Taxes, utilizing retrospective application as permitted. As such, certain prior period amounts have been reclassified to conform to the current presentation. In the Balance Sheet as of December 31, 2014, the Company has reclassified $9.6 million from Deferred income taxes in current assets to Deferred income taxes within non-current liabilities. 

Statement of Cash Flows
(unaudited, in thousands)
 Year Ended December 31,
 2015 2014
Operating activities:   
Net income$317,220  $225,464 
Adjustments to reconcile net income to net cash provided by operations:   
Unrealized (gains) losses on open derivative contracts, net2,334   
Equity-based compensation, net9,222  8,797 
Allowance for doubtful accounts (recoveries)12  (45)
Amortization of deferred gains and losses1,165  (185)
Depreciation and amortization73,908  46,971 
Deferred income tax expense155,614  34,118 
Loss on disposal of assets1,604  3,008 
Changes in operating assets and liabilities:   
Accounts receivable(5,592) 606 
Prepaid maintenance reserves(32,101) (31,925)
Long-term deposits and other assets(103,613) (48,382)
Accounts payable2,706  (10,034)
Air traffic liability36,387  21,135 
Other liabilities14,119  13,731 
Other  (2,747)
Net cash provided by operating activities472,985  260,512 
Investing activities:   
Pre-delivery deposits for flight equipment, net of refunds(142,323) (115,802)
Capitalized interest(10,159)  
Purchase of property and equipment(548,800) (186,569)
Net cash used in investing activities(701,282) (302,371)
Financing activities:   
Proceeds from issuance of long-term debt536,780  148,000 
Proceeds from stock options exercised32  174 
Payments on debt and capital lease obligations(26,364) (1,233)
Proceeds from sale and leaseback transactions7,300  7,200 
Payments to pre-IPO shareholders pursuant to tax receivable agreement  (5,643)
Excess tax benefits from equity-based compensation8,850  1,871 
Repurchase of common stock(112,261) (1,630)
Debt issuance costs(15,192) (4,727)
Net cash provided by financing activities399,145  144,012 
Net increase in cash and cash equivalents170,848  102,153 
Cash and cash equivalents at beginning of period632,784  530,631 
Cash and cash equivalents at end of period$803,632  $632,784 
Supplemental disclosures   
Cash payments for:   
Interest (net of capitalized interest)$7,061  $ 
Income taxes paid, net of refunds$95,933  $89,104 
Non-cash transactions:   
Capital expenditures funded by capital lease borrowings$  $(173)

Selected Operating Statistics (unaudited)
 Three Months Ended December 31,  
Operating Statistics2015 2014 Change
Available seat miles (ASMs) (thousands)5,705,398  4,372,511  30.5%
Revenue passenger miles (RPMs) (thousands)4,727,996  3,707,271  27.5%
Load factor (%)82.9  84.8  (1.9) pts
Passenger flight segments (thousands)4,651  3,709  25.4%
Block hours89,016  70,730  25.9%
Departures33,662  27,167  23.9%
Total operating revenue per ASM (TRASM) (cents)9.11  10.85  (16.0)%
Average yield (cents)11.00  12.80  (14.1)%
Average ticket revenue per passenger flight segment ($)57.52  73.21  (21.4)%
Average non-ticket revenue per passenger flight segment ($)54.26  54.70  (0.8)%
Total revenue per passenger flight segment ($)111.78  127.91  (12.6)%
CASM (cents)7.00  8.79  (20.4)%
Adjusted CASM (cents) (1)7.03  8.69  (19.1)%
Adjusted CASM ex-fuel (cents) (2)5.15  5.61  (8.2)%
Fuel gallons consumed (thousands)67,467  52,732  27.9%
Average economic fuel cost per gallon ($)1.59  2.56  (37.9)%
Aircraft at end of period79  65  21.5%
Average daily aircraft utilization (hours)12.5  12.5   
Average stage length (miles)1,000  983  1.7%
Airports served in the period (3)53  53   

 Year Ended December 31,  
Operating Statistics2015 2014 Change
Available seat miles (ASMs) (thousands)21,246,156  16,340,142  30.0%
Revenue passenger miles (RPMs) (thousands)17,995,311  14,159,860  27.1%
Load factor (%)84.7  86.7  (2.0) pts
Passenger flight segments (thousands)17,921  14,294  25.4%
Block hours337,956  267,305  26.4%
Departures128,902  102,594  25.6%
Total operating revenue per ASM (TRASM) (cents)10.08  11.82  (14.7)%
Average yield (cents)11.90  13.64  (12.8)%
Average ticket revenue per passenger flight segment ($)65.25  80.11  (18.5)%
Average non-ticket revenue per passenger flight segment ($)54.24  55.03  (1.4)%
Total revenue per passenger flight segment ($)119.49  135.14  (11.6)%
CASM (cents)7.68  9.65  (20.4)%
Adjusted CASM (cents) (1)7.69  9.55  (19.5)%
Adjusted CASM ex-fuel (cents) (2)5.50  5.88  (6.5)%
Fuel gallons consumed (thousands)255,008  200,498  27.2%
Average economic fuel cost per gallon ($)1.82  2.99  (39.1)%
Average daily aircraft utilization (hours)12.7  12.7   
Average stage length (miles)987  980  0.7%
Airports served in the period (3)57  56  1.8%

(1) Excludes special items.
(2) Excludes economic fuel expense and special items.
(3) Includes seasonal airports not served at the end of the period.

The Company is providing a reconciliation of GAAP financial information to non-GAAP financial information as it believes that non-GAAP financial measures provide management and investors the ability to measure the performance of the Company on a consistent basis.  These non-GAAP financial measures have limitations as an analytical tool.  Because of these limitations, determinations of  the Company's operating performance excluding unrealized gains and losses or special items should not be considered in isolation or as a substitute for performance measures calculated in accordance with GAAP.

Special Items
 Three Months Ended Year Ended
 December 31, December 31,
(in thousands)2015 2014 2015 2014
Operating special items include the following (1):       
Prior years' additional federal excise tax$  $  $  $9,278 
Unrealized losses (gains) related to fuel derivative contracts(1,988) 3,118  (3,880) 3,881 
Loss on disposal of assets304  1,350  1,604  3,008 
Special charges    673  45 
Total operating special items$(1,684) $4,468  $(1,603) $16,212 
Non-operating special items include the following (2):       
Settlement paid to Pre-IPO Stockholders$  $  $  $1,388 
Total non-operating special items$  $  $  $1,388 
Total special items$(1,684) $4,468  $(1,603) $17,600 

Reconciliation of Adjusted Operating Expense to GAAP Operating Expense
  Three Months Ended Year Ended
  December 31, December 31,
(in thousands, except CASM data in cents) 2015 2014 2015 2014
Total operating expenses, as reported $399,509  $384,512  $1,632,341  $1,576,317 
Less operating special items (1) (1,684) 4,468  (1,603) 16,212 
Adjusted operating expenses, non-GAAP (3) 401,193  380,044  1,633,944  1,560,105 
Less: Economic fuel expense 107,203  134,884  465,327  599,750 
Adjusted operating expenses excluding fuel, non-GAAP (4)   $293,990  $245,160  $1,168,617  $960,355 
Available seat miles 5,705,398  4,372,511  21,246,156  16,340,142 
CASM (cents) 7.00  8.79  7.68  9.65 
Adjusted CASM (cents) (3) 7.03  8.69  7.69  9.55 
Adjusted CASM ex-fuel (cents) (4) 5.15  5.61  5.50  5.88 

(1) Special items include additional federal excise tax on a minority of fuel volume for the period beginning July 1, 2009 through December 31, 2013, unrealized gains and losses related to outstanding fuel derivative contracts, loss on disposal of assets, and special charges.
(2) Non-operating special charges relate to the settlement paid to the Pre-IPO Stockholders in excess of the liability the Company had previously estimated related to the Company's Tax Receivable Agreement.
(3) Excludes operating special items.
(4) Excludes operating special items and economic fuel expense as described in the "Reconciliation of Economic Fuel Expense to GAAP Fuel Expense" table below.

Reconciliation of Adjusted Net Income to GAAP Net Income
 Three Months Ended Year Ended
 December 31, December 31,
(in thousands, except per share data) 2015   2014   2015   2014 
Net income, as reported$74,400  $55,909  $317,220  $225,464 
Add: Provision for income taxes43,746  33,119  185,183  127,530 
Income before income taxes, as reported118,146  89,028  502,403  352,994 
Pre-tax margin, GAAP22.7% 18.8% 23.5% 18.3%
Add operating special items (1)(1,684) 4,468  (1,603) 16,212 
Add non-operating special charges (1)      1,388 
Income before income taxes, non-GAAP (2)116,462  93,496  500,800  370,594 
Adjusted pre-tax margin, non-GAAP (2)22.4% 19.7% 23.4% 19.2%
Provision for income taxes (3)43,122  34,781  184,592  133,889 
Adjusted net income, non-GAAP (2)(3)$73,340  $58,715  $316,208  $236,705 
Weighted average shares, diluted71,672  73,324  72,426  73,294 
Adjusted net income per share, diluted (2)(3)  $1.02  $0.80  $4.37  $3.23 

Reconciliation of Adjusted Operating Income to GAAP Operating Income
 Three Months Ended Year Ended
 December 31, December 31,
(in thousands)2015 2014 2015 2014
Operating income, as reported$120,337  $89,975  $509,122  $355,263 
Operating margin, GAAP23.1% 19.0% 23.8% 18.4%
Add operating special items (1)(1,684) 4,468  (1,603) 16,212 
Operating income, non-GAAP (4)      $118,653  $94,443  $507,519  $371,475 
Operating margin (4)22.8% 19.9% 23.7% 19.2%

(1) See "Special Items" for more details.
(2) Excludes operating and non-operating special items.
(3) Assumes same marginal tax rate as is applicable to GAAP net income.
(4) Excludes special items.

The Company believes economic fuel expense is the best measure of the effect fuel prices are currently having on our business, because it most closely approximates the net cash outflow associated with purchasing fuel used for our operations during the period. Economic fuel expense is defined as into-plane fuel expense, realized gains or losses on derivative contracts, plus the economic premium expense related to fuel option contracts in the period the option is benefiting. The key difference between aircraft fuel expense as recorded in our statement of operations and economic fuel expense is unrealized mark-to-market changes in the value of aircraft fuel derivatives outstanding and the timing of premium gain or loss recognition on our outstanding fuel option contracts. Many industry analysts evaluate airline results using economic fuel expense, and it is used in our internal management reporting.

Reconciliation of Economic Fuel Expense to GAAP Fuel Expense
 Three Months Ended Year Ended
 December 31, December 31,
(in thousands, except per gallon data)2015 2014 2015 2014
Fuel expense       
Aircraft fuel, as reported$105,215  $138,002  $461,447  $612,909 
Prior years' additional federal excise tax      9,278 
Unrealized losses (gains) related to fuel derivative contracts(1,988) 3,118  (3,880) 3,881 
Economic fuel expense, non-GAAP$107,203  $134,884  $465,327  $599,750 
Fuel gallons consumed67,467  52,732  255,008  200,498 
Economic fuel cost per gallon, non-GAAP$1.59  $2.56  $1.82  $2.99 


Calculation of Return on Invested Capital
 Twelve Months Ended
(in thousands)December 31, 2015
Operating income$509,122 
Add operating special items (1)(1,603)
Adjustment for aircraft rent211,531 
Adjusted operating income (2)719,050 
Tax (36.9%) (3)265,035 
Adjusted operating income, after-tax454,015 
Invested capital 
Total debt$646,330 
Book equity1,225,310 
Less: Unrestricted cash803,632 
Add: Capitalized aircraft operating leases (7x Aircraft Rent)1,480,717 
Total invested capital2,548,725 
Return on invested capital (ROIC), pre-tax (2)28.2%
Return on invested capital (ROIC), after-tax (2)(3)17.8%

(1) See "Special Items" for more details.
(2) Excludes special items.
(3) Assumes same marginal tax rate as is applicable to GAAP net income for the twelve months ended December 31, 2015.


Investor Relations Contact:
DeAnne Gabel
(954) 447-7920
Media Contact:
Paul Berry
(954) 628-4827