Southwest Airlines reported first quarter net income of $453 million, or 66 cents per share, nearly three times more than earnings of $152 million for the same period last year.
The Dallas-based airline posted earnings slightly higher than what Wall Street had expected of 65 cents per share.
Total revenue for the three months increased by 6 percent to $4.41 billion, compared to $4.17 billion in the same period last year.
Passenger revenues rose 6.2 percent compared to the same quarter last year, up to $4.18 billion.
First quarter 2015 economic fuel costs were $2.00 per gallon, including $.10 per gallon in unfavorable cash settlements from fuel derivative contracts, compared with $3.08 per gallon in first quarter 2014, including $.06 per gallon in favorable cash settlements from fuel derivative contracts.
Gary C. Kelly, Chairman of the Board, President, and Chief Executive Officer, stated:
”We are thrilled to report an exceptionally strong first quarter 2015 earnings performance. Our net income, excluding special items, of $451 million, or $.66 per diluted share, far surpasses any first quarter profit in our history and represents our eighth consecutive quarter of record profits.
“Our first quarter 2015 operating income, excluding special items, increased over 200 percent year-over-year to $770 million, resulting in a first quarter record 17.4 percent operating margin. Our ROIC for the 12 months ended March 31, 2015, was an outstanding 25.6 percent.
“These superb results earned our 47,000 hard-working and dedicated Employees a first quarter record $126 million profit sharing accrual, up 334.5 percent from first quarter 2014.”
Southwest projects 700 aircraft in its fleet by the end of the year and a 7 percent increase in capacity compared to 2014.