Northwest Airlines ( NWAC) posted a second-quarter loss that wasn't as bad as Wall Street expected, while America West Airlines ( AWA) announced that second-quarter profit fell more than 50% from the year-ago quarter. Northwest reported a net loss of $182 million, or $2.11 a share, which is down from the net profit of $227 million, or $2.45 a share, it had a year ago. But excluding all items and charges, such as a $209 million reimbursement for security fees a year ago, the carrier lost $78 million, or 90 cents a share, which beats the loss of $1.21 expected by analysts and the year-ago loss of $160 million, or $1.86 a share. In reaction, shares of Northwest fell 3 cents, or 0.3%, to $8.91. Revenue came in at $2.87 billion, up 18.5% from the year-ago quarter, even though the carrier was more cautious than its peers when it came to resuming flights that were shelved a year ago because of the war in Iraq and SARS. The carrier said that revenue per available seat mile, a key metric called RASM, rose 12.7%. The company increased capacity, as measured in available seat miles, by 6.4% year over year, while traffic, as measured in revenue passenger miles, rose 14.8%. With demand outpacing supply, Northwest filled 82.5% of its seats, up from 76.4% a year ago. Operating expenses came in at $2.92 billion, however, up 17.1% year over year, driven by a 33.1% jump in the price of fuel. Cost per available seat mile, or CASM, came in at 10.16 cents, up 4.2% from last year and 66 cents higher than rival AMR ( AMR), parent of American Airlines. Like Delta Air Lines ( DAL), Northwest is in negotiations to win concessions from unions, adding that it has already worked through a ninth round of cost-cutting in non-labor expenses. "We have been meeting regularly with our pilots represented by the Air Line Pilots Association," said Doug Steenland, president of the company. "We have exchanged proposals on numerous issues and anticipate continuing our discussions."