Southwest Posts Record First-Quarter Profit
The airline reported a profit of $511 million, a record for the first quarter of a year for the carrier. The figure was a 13% year-over-year increase.
“As expected, operating revenues grew in line with our available seat mile growth of 9.2 percent, which is a very strong performance, especially considering the increase in stage length,“ said Gary Kelly, the airline’s CEO. “The sustained strength of customer demand for our one-of-a-kind service produced a record first quarter load factor of 80.5 percent.”
The airline also set a record for first-quarter revenue, reporting $4.8 billion, a year-over-year increase of 9.3%, and was driven largely by first quarter passenger revenue and lower fuel costs, the carrier said.
Southwest’s passenger revenue per available seat mile, or Prasm, however, decreased by 3.6%, down to 12.47 cents.
Passenger traffic in the first quarter increased by 9.9%, up to 28.408 revenue passenger miles, or RPMs, from 25.86 billion in the first quarter of 2015. Meanwhile, capacity increased by 9.2% to 35.268 billion available seat miles, or ASMs, from 32.297 billion ASMs last year.
Passenger load factor in the first quarter increased by 0.4 percentage points, up to 80.5% from 80.1% in the same period last year.
The Dallas-based airline said it plans to speed up the retirement of its oldest planes, Boeing 737-300s to make room for the newest version of the plane, the 737 Max.
(Photo: Accura Media Group)