Hawaiian Airlines makes a profit

By Howard Dicus - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaiian Airlines eked out a first quarter profit in the first quarter despite soaring jet fuel prices and an unexpected decline in Japan traffic due to the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

Revenue rose 23 percent to almost $366 million, Hawaiian Holdings Inc. (Nasadaq: HA) reported Tuesday. The company reported a small adjusted net loss reflecting economic fuel expense, which means the airline managed to stay in the black through fuel hedging and would have lost money if it had bought all its jet fuel on the open market at first quarter prices.

"In the first quarter, the company did a good job of mitigating the effects of the rising cost of fuel and the tragedy in Japan," said CEO Mark Dunkerley. "Fuel prices have climbed further since then, creating a substantial challenge for all airlines, including Hawaiian."

The quarter at a glance:

+ Revenue: $365.6 million. Year ago: $298.4 million.

+ Net income: $900,000. Year ago: $200,000.

+ Per share: 2 cents. Year ago: 0 cents.

Hawaiian Airlines joined Alaska Airlines and Southwest Airlines in reporting first quarter profits, while losses in the hundreds of millions of dollars were posted by Delta, United Continental, American and US Airways, all citing jet fuel prices as the main reason.

Hawaiian spent $4 million more on labor, $10 million more on aircraft leases, and $7 million more on maintenance than it did in the first quarter of 2010, but it spent $39 million more on fuel.

Hawaiian launched daily service from Honolulu to Tokyo Haneda in November and began serving Seoul Inch eon in January. It already served Sydney, Manila and other Asia-Pacific destinations. Hawaiian has begun replacing its Boeing jets with new Airbus aircraft and just put the fourth one in service. They are being used in the Los Angeles and Las Vegas corridors today but Hawaiian later plans to shift some to international routes.

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