Any injuries are 'too many,' Southwest CEO says
Southwest Airlines Chairman and CEO Gary Kelly told CNBC on Thursday that he's thankful there were only minor injuries as a result of a hard landing of one of the carrier's jets at New York's LaGuardia Airport on Monday evening.
"Of course, any injuries are too many, and we'll be working very diligently to make sure we understand what happened and make sure it doesn't happened again," Kelly said.
The National Transportation Safety Board said the Boeing 737 operated by Southwest skidded 2,175 feet on its nose after the front gear collapsed backwards into the fuselage, damaging avionics and electronics.
Out of the 150 passengers and crew on board, nine people were hurt.
The NTSB is reviewing the flight data and cockpit voice recorders. For its part, Boeing said it also has people at the airport—supporting Southwest and providing technical assistance to the NTSB.
Kelly said he's "very pleased" with how the investigation is going. "Our primary objective is the safety of our customers and our crew," he stressed in a "Squawk Box" interview Thursday, shortly after the company reported earnings that were in-line with Wall Street expectations.
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Southwest posted second-quarter earnings excluding items of 38 cents per share, up from 36 cents a share in the year-earlier period. Revenue increased to $4.64 billion from $4.62 billion a year ago.
Analysts had expected the airline company to report earnings excluding items of 38 cents a share on $4.66 billion in revenue, according to a consensus estimate from Thomson Reuters.
Kelly said that the company saw headwinds this quarter because of the economy "seeing affects from sequestration, seeing affects from consumer tax increases earlier in the year."
"We saw trends significantly off-course beginning in March," he continued, "despite the fact that March was augmented this year by Easter and Passover traffic."
He was pleased that fuel prices are lower than a year ago, but acknowledged that the recent trend higher for oil prices could be problematic in the future. "[We] never like seeing fuel prices going up, but the nice thing is we've been able to adjust our business to energy prices at these levels. If we can kind of them in this range, I think we'll do well."
Southwest has no plans to charge baggage fees this year, Kelly said, adding that the merger integration with AirTran is on track for completion by the end of 2014 as planned.