DALLAS (AP) -- Southwest Airlines Co. said Thursday that it made a record $152 million in the first quarter, more than doubling the $59 million it earned during the same time last year.
The strong profit during a time of year that is traditionally the slowest for airlines is good news for the Dallas-based carrier, which has been struggling to integrate AirTran into its system following its 2010 acquisition.
Southwest earned $0.22 per share, up from $0.08 per share in the same period last year. Excluding special items, the profit was $0.18 per share, beating the $0.16 expected by Wall Street analysts surveyed by FactSet.
Revenue climbed 2% to $4.17 billion -- just shy of the $4.18 billion that analysts predicted.
The average one-way fare rose 3.1% to $156.96.
Spending on fuel dropped 9.8% from a year ago, offsetting a 7.8% increase in labor costs.
Chairman and CEO Gary Kelly said the company posted record earnings for any first quarter despite the weather-related cancellations of more than 7,500 flights. He estimated that winter storms reduced Southwest's operating profit by $50 million.
Kelly said the second quarter was "off to a great start" with strong bookings and revenue trends plus stable prices for jet fuel.
Shares added $0.08 to $24.16 in morning trading. They began the day up 28% so far this year.