Record Breaking Numbers: U.S. Airlines Reach for the Sky

Things are looking up for airline companies, which have posted respectable profits in what is historically their slowest quarter of the year. The top seven U.S. airlines have together posted a first-quarter operating profit of $247 million, compared to a moderate loss a year ago.

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Airlines for America’s annual summer forecast predicts that U.S. airlines will carry 206.2 million passengers in the June-August peak flying season, just 5 percent below the record of 217.6 million. A record number of passengers will fly internationally this summer, and the total of travelers is expected to reach 26.8 million, beating last summer’s record of 26.3 million.  According to A4A President and CEO Nicolas E. Calio, customers are benefiting from record airline operational performance and greater access to the global economy while fares continue to trail the price of other services.

Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL) reported strong financial and operating performance for April 2012. Delta’s consolidated passenger unit revenue increased 11 percent for the month of April as compared to the prior year. The airline witnessed strong unit revenue improvement across all departments, driven by capacity discipline, corporate booking strength, and benefits from investments in products and services.

Recently, Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV) reported April 2012 combined traffic results for Southwest Airlines and Airtran. Southwest flew 8.6 billion revenue passenger miles in April 2012, compared to 8.8 billion combined RPMs flown in April 2011, a decrease of 2.1 percent. From the April 2011 combined level of 11.0 billion, available seat miles decreased 1.9 percent to 10.8 billion.

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