October 25, 2018 / 10:34 AM / a month ago

Southwest quarterly profit rises 16.5 percent

Oct 25 (Reuters) - Southwest Airlines Co on Thursday reported a 16.5 percent increase in third-quarter profit as robust travel demand and lower U.S. federal taxes helped the airline offset rising fuel costs.

The fourth-largest U.S. airline by passenger traffic said it expects fourth-quarter unit revenue - a closely watched performance measure that compares sales to flight capacity - to rise 1 to 2 percent.

The Dallas, Texas-based airline said net income rose to $615 million, or $1.08 per share, in the third quarter ended Sept. 30, compared with $528 million, or 88 cents per share, a year earlier.

Fuel cost rose 16.2 percent during the quarter.

Total operating revenue rose 5.1 percent to $5.57 billion.

Analysts on average had expected a profit of $1.06 per share, according to Refinitiv data. (Reporting by Rachit Vats in Bengaluru and Tracy Rucinski in Chicago Editing by Supriya Kurane)

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