Southwest Airlines retains strong profitability
U.S. budget air carrier Southwest Airlines announced a substantial rise in first-quarter profits on Thursday.
The company said their first quarter net earnings this year were $76 million, compared to $26 million for the same period last year.
The news sent shares in Southwest up 4 percent in early New York trading Thursday.
Profits were helped by a savings of $155 million due to purchase of fuel at prefixed prices.
Southwest is the first company in its sector to report on first quarter earnings and it is expected to be the only one to report profits.
The largest U.S. airlines will likely post losses totaling at least $2 billion.
The report from Southwest did warn that second-quarter fuel prices will probably be somewhat higher than in the first quarter.
Additionally, Southwest expects second-quarter passenger numbers to be down from last year’s due to the timing of Easter break this year.
But the airline has also added seven new planes, increasing available seats by 7 percent. The Dallas-based Southwest is the only U.S. airline to post consistent profits since the 2001 World Trade Center attacks.