Northwest Airlines Reports Third-Quarter Profit


Northwest Airlines, the No. 5 U.S. airline, reported a third-quarter profit on Monday that shattered Wall Street expectations.

The airline, which exited bankruptcy in May, said profit was $244 million, or 93 cents per share. Analysts' average forecast was 76 cents a share, according to Reuters Estimates.

A year earlier the airline reported a loss of $1.2 billion, impacted by charges related to its reorganization. The company launched new shares after it emerged from Chapter 11, so an accurate year-ago earnings-per-share comparison is not available.

Excluding special items, Northwest reported a third-quarter profit of $405 million, up from $258 million a year earlier.

The carrier said operating revenue declined 0.9 percent to $3.4 billion.

The airline industry, recovering from a years-long downturn, has been battered by soaring fuel costs and low-fare competition.

Strategic fuel hedging and fare hikes have given some stability to the embattled industry. Northwest's fuel costs declined 7.9 percent for the quarter.