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.
The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.