DALLAS – Southwest Airlines Co. reported Thursday that fourth-quarter earnings fell by nearly half as costs rose for fuel, labor and maintenance.
The airline’s revenue climbed slightly, however, as the average fare increased almost $8 from a year ago.
Southwest, the No. 1 carrier at McCarran International Airport, reported fourth-quarter net income of $78 million, or 11 cents per share. That’s down from $152 million, or 20 cents per share, a year earlier.
Excluding items such as fuel contracts, the net income would have been 9 cents per share, beating the 7-cents-per-share forecast among analysts surveyed by FactSet.
Revenue ticked up 1.6 percent to $4.17 billion but fell short of the $4.20 billion that analysts expected.
Expenses rose faster, however, by 3.1 percent. Labor costs rose and maintenance costs jumped significantly as the airline continued to overhaul the cabins inside many of its planes.
The average fourth-quarter fare on Southwest and its AirTran Airways subsidiary was $148.02, up 5.4 percent from $140.38 a year earlier.