Passenger revenue soars at Southwest despite hit from virus

Passenger revenue almost tripled and Southwest Airlines posted a smaller loss that most had expected in the third quarter despite the spread of the delta variant that slowed air travel again

DALLAS -- Passenger revenue almost tripled and Southwest Airlines posted a smaller loss that most had expected, despite slowing air traffic in the third quarter with the spread of the delta variant.

Net income was $446 million, or 73 cents per share, bouncing back from a loss over the same period last year. There were one-time costs that drove a per-share loss of 23 cents, but that's not as bad as the per-share loss of 27 cents that Wall Street was expecting, according to a survey by Zacks Investment Research.

“Third quarter 2021 was a challenge for us, operationally," said CEO and Chairman Gary Kelly in a prepared statement. “Despite the deceleration of traffic in August and September due to surging COVID-19 cases, the third quarter 2021 demand and revenue performance was quite strong and a dramatic improvement from a year ago. That was a bright and encouraging sign of recovery.”

Revenue was $4.68 billion, also better than expected.

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A portion of this story was generated by Automated Insights (http://automatedinsights.com/ap) using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on LUV at https://www.zacks.com/ap/LUV