Revenue Jumps at Airtran

Quarterly net income fell because of high oil prices.
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AirTran

(AAI)

flew to a better-than-expected profit in the second quarter as it shaved costs.

The Orlando, Fla., discount airline said net income fell to $11.4 million, or 13 cents a share, from $16.8 million, or 18 cents a share, a year earlier, as surging oil prices boosted its cost for a gallon of jet fuel by 54.5%. The latest quarter's EPS beat the 10-cent average analyst estimate from Thomson First Call.

Shares finished Monday's session at $10.50.

Revenue was $366.3 million, up 33.2% from $275.0 million a year earlier, driven by a robust 33.3% capacity expansion.

"While the competitive environment remains challenging, AirTran Airways achieved record revenues and numbers of passengers during the second quarter, while growing the company over 33%. Every member of the AirTran Airways team should be proud today," said Joe Leonard, the airline's chairman and CEO.

AirTran cut nonfuel unit costs by 5.3%. Although passenger demand surged 33.8%, outpacing the airline's capacity growth, yield, which measures average fares, fell 0.6% and unit revenue, measured in revenue per available seat mile, or RASM, declined by 0.2%.

The decline in yield and unit revenue is likely a result of cutthroat fare competition on the East Coast, where the bulk of AirTran's routes are concentrated.