Legacy Airlines Report Double Digit Increases in Profits

Delta Air Lines posted third-quarter net income of $1.05 billion, nearly doubling the $549 million in net income earned in the year-ago quarter.

US Airways earned third-quarter net income of $245 million, more than tripling a net profit of $76 million in the 2011 September quarter. It credited “strong passenger demand” for boosting revenue while costs increased only marginally.

US Airways Chairman and CEO Doug Parker said that the third-quarter net profit was the company’s highest-ever for a September earnings period.

Alaska Air Group, parent of Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air, more than doubled its net income year-over-year, earning $163.4 million in the third quarter versus net income of $77.5 million in the 2011 third quarter.

Delta said non-fuel costs have grown “faster than we’d prefer” in the last two quarters, but it expects production at Trainer Refinery to generate a contribution of “breakeven to $25 million” in the fourth quarter. The refinery began jet fuel production in the September quarter and is expected to be fully operational before the end of the year.

“We are working to change the cost dynamic in this industry across fuel,” DL CEO Richard Anderson said, adding that “so far” the results have “validated” its strategy.