Northwest reports second-quarter loss on fuel bill

CHICAGO Wed Jul 23, 2008 9:00am EDT

A Northwest airlines plane takes off at the Calgary International Airport in Calgary, Alberta, June 17, 2008. REUTERS/Todd Korol

A Northwest airlines plane takes off at the Calgary International Airport in Calgary, Alberta, June 17, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Todd Korol

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Northwest Airlines Corp NWA.N reported a quarterly net loss on Wednesday, reversing a year-earlier profit, on skyrocketing fuel prices.

The carrier, which plans to merge with Delta Air Lines Inc (DAL.N), said its second-quarter net loss amounted to $377 million, or $1.43 per share, compared with a profit of $2.1 billion a year earlier.

Northwest exited bankruptcy and issued new shares in the second quarter of 2007, which skews year-ago comparisons. The second-quarter 2007 profit also was affected by $1.9 billion in reorganization items.

Northwest said its operating revenue was $3.58 billion, up 12.4 percent from a year earlier. The carrier spent $1.21 billion on fuel, an increase of 41.2 percent.

Northwest ended the quarter with $3.3 billion in unrestricted liquidity.

The airline industry has been battered severely by record high fuel prices, which have prompted massive downsizing of the top carriers.

Northwest said this month that it would trim its staff by 8 percent as part of an 8.5 percent to 9.5 percent fourth-quarter capacity reduction aimed at offsetting the high cost of jet fuel.

(Reporting by Kyle Peterson, editing by Gerald E. McCormick, editing by Dave Zimmerman)

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