MIAMI — Southwest Airlines posted a profit of $190 million in the fourth quarter, down 10.2 percent from the same quarter in 2013. For the year, the Dallas-based carrier’s profit was $1.1 billion, up 50.7 percent.
Southwest Airlines posted a $404 million net income in the fourth quarter of 2014, excluding spe. Southwest is also crediting record profits and a superb outlook to the lowering cost of jet fuel. The carrier’s cost per gallon (including taxes) is predicted to be between $1.95 and $2.05 this year. 2014 marked the airline’s 42nd consecutive year of profit.
Other Highlights in the Quarter Included:
- Returned $1.1 billion to shareholders through repurchases of $955 million of common stock and payment of $139 million in dividends;
- Reduced long-term debt and capital lease obligations by $261 million, net of debt issuance;
- Deployed its international reservation system and launched Southwest’s inaugural international service to Aruba, The Bahamas, Montego Bay, Cancun, Los Cabos, Mexico City, and Punta Cana; and
- Announced service to San Jose, Costa Rica; Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; and Belize City, Belize for 2015, pending government approvals.
In 2014, Southwest’s fleet dropped from 665 aircraft down to 616 aircraft. The figure of 665 also includes the 66 AirTran Boeing 717s removed from service in 2014. In 2014 47 of 52 AirTran 737-700s were retrofitted to Southwest’s Evolve configuration. The carrier also took delivery of 33 Boeing 737-800s and 22 pre-owned 737-700s. Five classic 737s were retired.
Thanks to the proper utilization of its newly modified fleet, Southwest is seeing a healthy growth. The repeal of the Wright Amendment, on October 12, 2014, allowed Southwest to expand flying from Dallas Love Field. The carrier also acquired slots at Reagan Washington National Airport, which boosted its capacity growth by 180 percent.
“As we enter 2015, we are well positioned financially and excited about our growth opportunities ahead. We remain steadfast in our unwavering commitment to preserve our financial strength, provide job security for our Employees, protect our low fare brand, and deliver adequate returns to our Shareholders,” said Chairman, President and CEO Gary Kelly. “We live up to that commitment by offering friendly, reliable, and low-cost air travel, and by expanding our network in a sensible manner.”