Good News & Bad News for Continental

Continental Airlines, one of the few majors that had not been under bankruptcy court protection in the past three years, received some good news and bad news in its first-quarter 2006 earnings report. The good news is that the airline reported its first quarterly operating profit since the first quarter of 2001, compared with an operating loss of $173 million in the first quarter of 2005. Operating income was $11 million, despite a 31 percent increase in fuel prices in the first quarter compared to the same period last year. During the quarter, Continental's flight attendants also ratified a new collective bargaining agreement; that and other new labor agreements are expected to save Continental nearly $500 million annually. Yet, while the airline's financial picture has brightened, it still recorded a first-quarter 2006 net loss of $66 million.

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