Airlines may have been pounded financially for the past decade, but changes to their
business models over the past couple of years helped make the second quarter
one of the best earnings seasons in the industry’s history.
The nine largest airlines reported $1.86 billion in profits on $31.7 billion in revenue during the three months ended June 30. The profits number excludes $713 million for special items.
The second quarter revenue was the second highest in history, just south of 2008’s
second quarter record of $33.3 billion, the website said. The second quarter
profits missed the decade high set in 2007 by only $8 million. The quarterly
haul is good news for an industry that, according to the Air Transport
Association, has lost about $60 billion domestically since 2000. But carriers
still are wary, especially given the volatility in the marketplace.
“A quarter a trend does not make,” says ATA spokesman David Castelveter.
The positive earnings news is largely due to capacity cuts that carriers have made
over the past couple of years, along with a tentative rebound in the economy
that has spurred more travel. The combination of the two has given airlines
Delta Air Lines led the way with recorded net income of $467 million on revenue of $8.17 billion. American Airlines was second in revenue at $5.67 billion but was the only airline to record losses for the quarter.