* Adjusted profit 9 cents/shr tops estimate 8 cents
* Increase in costs outpaces revenue rise
Jan 24 Southwest Airlines Co reported
lower quarterly profit on Thursday as it wrestled with higher
costs for fuel, maintenance materials and salaries.
The carrier, which acquired AirTran Holdings in 2011, said
bookings looked strong in the current quarter and added a key
revenue measure would likely rise in January from a year
The traditional low-fare leader, Southwest is facing labor
and fuel cost pressures as competition rises not only with
legacy airlines such as Delta Air Lines Inc, but also
with newer carriers with a low-cost focus, like Spirit Airlines
Southwest's net income fell to $78 million, or 11 cents a
share, for the fourth quarter, from $152 million, or 20 cents a
share, a year earlier.
Excluding items, profit was 9 cents a share, compared with 8
cents a share expected by analysts on average, according to
Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Revenue rose 1.6 percent to $4.17 billion, helped by a 5.4
percent increase in the average passenger fare.
Operating expenses rose 3 percent, with costs tied to wages
and salaries up 4.5 percent. Fuel and oil costs rose 0.7 percent
and maintenance materials and repair expenses climbed 13