Hawaiian reports $20.9 Million Net Income, JetBlue Reports Profit tripled in 4th Quarter of 2011

Honolulu-based Hawaiian Airlines said it earned $20.9 million in the last quarter of 2011 in spite of soaring fuel costs. Operating revenue jumped 26 percent to $434 million as the airline added new routes and capacity expanded 16 percent.

CEO Mark Dunkerley said good cost control and fare increases allowed the company to offset a 35 percent increase in the cost of fuel.

“It is particularly noteworthy that these results were posted during a period in which our operations grew rapidly,” Dunkerley said in a statement.

Without charges for buying 15 Boeing 717 planes previously under lease agreements, and for a new way of accounting for fuel expenses that more closely reflects next cash outflow, Hawaiian said its adjusted net income for the year would be $43.2 million.

Dunkerley told investors on a conference call that revenue from its international routes tripled over the past year.

“Not only are we pleased by the success of our Tokyo and Osaka, routes but we are also confident enough in the demand for our Sydney and Seoul flights to offer daily frequencies in both markets,” he said.

“We’re pleased that the positive momentum that started in mid-2011 continued through the year-end,” Dunkerley said, adding “2012 is going to be an eventful year for our company as we prepare and then launch service to new destinations.”

JetBlue said Thursday that its fourth-quarter profit nearly tripled on a sharp increase in passengers and milder weather that allowed the New York airline to run many more flights on schedule.

Net income rose to $23 million in the three months ended Dec. 31. That’s up from $8 million a year earlier.

Revenue rose 22 percent to $1.15 billion. Higher ticket prices and fees drove its yield up 11 percent. The 2011 quarter compares with the last quarter of 2010, when a big winter storm that walloped its bases in New York and Boston cost JetBlue $30 million.

JetBlue Airways Corp. said traffic in the last three months of the year rose 11 percent as it added new destinations and flights.

JetBlue’s results echo earnings growth at most other U.S. airlines. Delta Air Lines Inc. and US Airways Group Inc. both reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings on Wednesday, capping two straight years of annual profits.

JetBlue ended the year with a fleet of 169 aircraft. It expects to take delivery of 11 planes this year.