The 16-day federal government shutdown in October will be a headwind at Southwest Airlines in the final three months of the year, Chairman and CEO Gary Kelly told CNBC on Thursday—right after the carrier reported third-quarter earnings in-line with Wall Street expectations.
Southwest is still looking for an "increase in unit revenues in October, although not as high as it would have been had the government not shut down," Kelly said in a "Squawk Box" interview.
In the third quarter, Southwest earned 34 cents a share excluding one-time items on revenues of $4.5 billion. Both numbers matched expectations.
"Consumers were out there buying and flying," Kelly said. "We were having a grand time until the government shut down in October, but we're still looking at a very good fourth quarter."
(Read more: Earnings Central)