Southwest Airlines posted a $54 million profit for the second quarter, its first profitable quarter after three straight quarters of losses.
“In second quarter 2009, we reported a profit. In, without a doubt, one of the worst revenue environments for the airlines, ever, this is an enormous achievement by the employees of Southwest Airlines. I am exceptionally proud of them, their warrior spirits, and their terrific operational and customer service results. We continue to stay focused on weathering this economic storm and managing alarming jet fuel price volatility,” said Southwest CEO Gary Kelly in a statement.
Southwest expects to incur costs of about $70 million for the voluntary departure of 1,400 employees starting at the end of this month and running through next April. The costs will include $40 million this year and $30 million in 2010. Kelly said savings in later years should “eventually” offset the costs.
Like other airlines, Southwest gained from fuel prices that were much lower than a year ago.