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Airlines’ profits fall in 4th quarter, but show improvement for all of 2012

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Tuesday, May 14, 2013, at 10:59 a.m.
  • Updated Tuesday, May 14, 2013, at 10:21 p.m.

The nation’s 10 largest airlines, as a group, recorded a net loss of $145 million in the last quarter of 2012, compared to a $602 million loss in the fourth quarter of 2011, the Department of Transportation said Tuesday.

The losses came after two quarters of profits.

The 10 airlines carried 76.1 percent of U.S. airlines’ scheduled passengers in the last three months of the year.

For the full year, all U.S. passenger airlines as a group reported revenue of $159.5 billion. They collected a total of $3.5 billion in baggage fees and $2.6 billion from reservation change fees last year.

As a group, they recorded a 3.7 percent profit margin in 2012, up from 3.2 percent in 2011.

Southwest, American, US Airways, JetBlue, SkyWest, and Alaska Airlines posted positive operating profit for the fourth quarter. Delta, United and ExpressJet reported losses.

For the year, Southwest, Delta, US Airways, JetBlue, SkyWest and Alaska Airlines recorded positive net income in 2012, while American, ExpressJet and AirTran recorded net losses.

Delta recorded the highest net income at $1.18 billion, followed by US Airways at $702.5 million and Southwest at $431.3 million.

American turned in the largest of the losses last year – $1.93 billion. American, which is in bankruptcy, plans to merge with US Airways.

Contact Molly McMillin at 316-269-6708 or mmcmillin@wichitaeagle.com.

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