There is some good news in the airline industry. AirTran Holdings, Inc., the parent company of AirTran Airways, Inc., today reported record net income of $28.7 million for the first quarter along with record operating income of $47.7 million. The company also posted revenues of $542.0 million and achieved the highest first quarter load factor in company history at 76.3 percent.
The combination of lower fuel prices, low costs, and quality service coupled with fleet and route network adjustments has resulted in the company posting its best first quarter earnings in history. Total fuel costs for the quarter were down 50.5 percent year-over-year on a 7.2 percent reduction in capacity as measured by available seat miles (ASMs), AirTran said.
"Our ability to report a profit today is rooted in the difficult decisions we made last year. AirTran Airways was among the first airlines to react to the changing economic environment and we are among the first to show signs of recovery," said Bob Fornaro, AirTran Airways' chairman, president and chief executive officer. "Our crew members deserve much of the credit as they continue to provide a high-quality product to our customers seeking real value and we are pleased to have been recognized, for the second consecutive year, as first in quality among major carriers in 2008."
During the first quarter, AirTran Airways expanded service in several markets that represented opportunities for significant traffic. Flights in Milwaukee increased more than 50 percent year over year and more than 30 scheduled daily departures are planned for the summer schedule. Additional flights and new cities were also added to the Orlando route network and AirTran Airways now has more than 60 peak day departures to 36 destinations and is the second largest carrier to America's top vacation destination.
"AirTran Airways' ability to be nimble and responsive to changing market conditions is a tremendous competitive advantage. Increasing flights to and from Milwaukee and Orlando while redesigning our Atlanta hub schedule to make the network more efficient and productive are the latest examples of this capability," said Kevin Healy, senior vice president of marketing and planning for AirTran Airways. Visit www.airtran.com.