Northwest Narrows Loss

The airline has a first-quarter profit excluding special items.
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Northwest Airlines

(NWACQ.PK)

reported a first-quarter profit excluding special items for the first time since 1998, and said it will emerge from bankruptcy protection in June.

Taking out reorganization items, the carrier said its pretax profit was $100 million, compared with a pretax loss of $129 million in the same quarter a year earlier. Revenue was $2.87 billion, down 0.6%.

Including restructuring items, Northwest reported a loss of $292 million, compared with a $1.1 billion net loss a year earlier.

Mainline revenue per available seat mile increased 2.7%, as capacity increased 4.7%. Atlantic RASM rose 15.4%, Pacific RASM was up 4.9%, and mainline domestic RASM edged up 0.2%. Consolidated capacity rose 1.3%, while capacity increased 3.1%.

"While we are optimistic as we look forward, we are seeing some softening in domestic revenue, and we remain concerned about the impact of fuel price increases," said CFO Neal Cohen, in a prepared statement. He said fleet changes will drive future financial improvement.

On the cost side, mainline cost per available seat mile, excluding fuel, fell by 4.6%. In bankruptcy, the carrier has cut labor expenses by $1.4 billion annually.