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This airline won't let higher fuel costs keep it down--at least not for the most recent quarter.

Continental Airlines

(CAL) - Get Caleres, Inc. Report

reported 32% growth in third-quarter earnings, beating analysts' expectations. The company said its earnings growth was thanks to strong travel demand and successful fuel hedging, which offset the pain of high fuel costs.

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Continental, the fifth largest airline in the U.S, earned $137 million, or $2.24 a share, excluding a $2 million extraordinary charge for early debt repayment, compared with $104 million, or. $1.44 a share, in the year-ago period.

Its third-quarter earnings beat the

First Call/Thomson Financial

11-analyst consensus estimate of $2.19 a share.

Revenue grew 16% to $2.62 billion from $2.26 billion a year earlier, while passenger revenue rose about 16% to $2.5 billion.