Southwest Airlines on Thursday posted lower first-quarter earnings as a weak U.S. economy and record fuel costs took their toll on the leading U.S. discount carrier.
Quarterly net profit for Southwest was $34 million, or 5 cents per share, down from $93 million, or 12 cents per share, in the same period last year.
Excluding one-time items, profit was $43 million, or 6 cents a share, compared to $33 million, or 4 cents a share in the year-ago period.
Analysts on average had expected a profit of 1 cent a share, according to Reuters Estimates.
First quarter revenue rose 15 percent to $2.53 billion.
U.S. airlines are suffering under record fuel prices and a weakening domestic economy.
Although Southwest has a history of successfully hedging against higher fuel costs, it said on Thursday it is concerned about soaring energy costs.
These tough conditions helped prompt a proposed merger between Delta Air
Lines and Northwest Airlines and could spur a wave of further consolidation amid fears of falling travel demand.