The fourth-largest US airline by passenger traffic said net income rose to $1.89 billion
Southwest Airlines profits top expectations
Southwest Airlines edged past expectations for fourth quarter profit on Thursday, helped by a small increase in unit revenue per seat driven by higher overall passenger numbers.
The Dallas-based carrier said it expects first-quarter unit revenue, which compares ticket sales with flight capacity, to increase in the 1 to 2 per cent range, compared to last year.
In the fourth quarter ended December 31 the measure rose 1.9 per cent.
Average passenger fares, however, were down 2.7 per cent and shares of Southwest dipped in premarket trading after a torrid Wednesday for airline stocks driven by growing fears of a price war in the sector.
The fourth-largest US airline by passenger traffic said net income rose to $1.89 billion , or $3.18 per share, from $522 million, or $0.84 per share, a year earlier.
That was largely driven by a $1.4bn benefit due to tax reform legislation.
Operating revenue, however, also rose 3.9 per cent to $5.27bn.
Excluding items, the company earned $0.77 a share, versus analysts' expectations of $0.76 per share, according to Reuters.