AirTran Q3 Profit Report to be Bright Spot in Earnings Preview

AirTran Holdings, operator of discount carrier AirTran Airways, is expected to report third-quarter results on Wednesday. The Orlando-based company is expected to post an adjusted profit for the July-September quarter, one of the few bright spots in an industry still reeling from weak demand for business travel.


AirTran

AirTran has been trying to shift its focus from unprofitable routes to profitable ones, and it also has been working to make sure it has enough cash to continue to weather the downturn in travel demand.

In August, AirTran said it planned to stop flying to and from Newark, N.J., effective Oct. 25, and give its takeoff and landing slots there to Houston-based Continental Airlines in exchange for Continental slots at LaGuardia Airport in New York and Reagan National Airport in Washington. Continental has a hub at Newark Liberty International Airport, which is used by many travelers heading to or from New York City. A slot is the term used to describe the right for a takeoff of landing at airports where capacity controls are in place.

Meanwhile, late last month AirTran said it and a key lender had extended the expiration date of its combined letter of credit and revolving line of credit to the end of 2010. The amount AirTran could borrow increased to $125 million from $90 million. The total size of the credit line was reduced from $215 million to $175 million.

AirTran said at the time that it expected to end the third quarter with more than $400 million of unrestricted cash and short-term investments. AirTran, which has its hub in Atlanta, has over 700 daily flights to 63 destinations.