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Alaska Air Has Best First Quarter Since 1999

The West Coast carrier earned $13.1 million, reversing a year-ago loss.
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Alaska Air

(ALK) - Get Alaska Air Group, Inc. Report

earned $13.1 million, its best first quarter since 1999.

Excluding items, the carrier reported net income of $13.1 million, or 36 cents a share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had estimated 35 cents. Revenue rose 12% to $830 million; analysts had estimated $816 million.

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In the same quarter a year earlier, excluding items, the carrier lost $25.4 million, or 70 cents a share. Including items, Alaska earned $5.3 million, or 15 cents a share, in the first quarter of 2010, compared with a loss of $19.2 million, or 53 cents a share, in the first quarter of 2009.

"Producing a profit in our seasonally weakest period is particularly noteworthy," said CEO Bill Ayer, in a prepared statement. "The last time we reported a significant first-quarter profit was in 1999.

"Our results were driven by higher load factors, improving pricing trends and good cost management," Ayer said. "Selective schedule reductions coupled with entry into new markets also contributed to our strong performance and provide a foundation for continued improvement."

During the quarter, total revenue per available seat mile grew 11.4%. Cost per available seat mile excluding fuel declined 0.2% to 8.40 cents. Capacity grew 0.4%.

-- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C.