Make us your home page

All nine major airlines expected to post third-quarter profits

At least someone is enjoying packed planes, rising fares and fees for services that used to be free. Three major airlines reported healthy profits Wednesday for the peak summer travel season: Delta Air Lines ($363 million), American Airlines parent AMR Corp. ($143 million) and US Airways ($240 million). All nine major carriers are expected to post third-quarter profits this week, something that hasn't happened since 2007. Not long ago, all but a handful of airlines were swimming in red ink. So, what happened to an industry that seemed to lurch from crisis to crisis?

Fewer seats

Airlines parked planes and cut flights first to counter spiking oil prices in 2008 and then to help weather the travel slump sparked by the recession. That put carriers in the driver's seat when demand for travel perked up this year. Airlines could raise fares and didn't need to sell off empty seats at deep discounts.


The upswing in travelers helped airlines collect more from service fees. For the three months ended in June, carriers collected $893 million in checked baggage fees, up 33 percent from a year earlier. They also pocketed $594 million in reservation change fees (down 2 percent) and $618 million in other kinds of fees like carrying pets onboard (up 14 percent).

Better discipline

In previous years, airlines rushed to add flights and grab market share when business got better. That resulted in lots of empty seats and cut-throat fare wars to fill them. Good for consumers but a disaster for airlines, especially high-cost carriers. Airlines have only modestly increased flights this time.

More business travel

Grounded during the recession in 2009, business travelers returned to the road this year. Companies are sending them in coach and not buying pricey last-minute tickets. But an American Express business travel survey released Wednesday said domestic air fares in 2011 will go up 2 to 6 percent, while international fares will increase 3 to 7 percent.

All nine major airlines expected to post third-quarter profits 10/20/10 [Last modified: Thursday, October 21, 2010 7:06am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Federal agencies demand records from SeaWorld theme park


    ORLANDO — Two federal agencies are reportedly demanding financial records from SeaWorld.

    Killer whales Ikaika and Corky participate in behaviors commonly done in the wild during SeaWorld's Killer Whale educational presentation in this photo from Jan. 9. SeaWorld has been subpoenaed by two federal agencies for comments that executives and the company made in August 2014 about the impact from the "Blackfish" documentary. 
[Nelvin C. Cepeda/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS]
  2. Legalized medical marijuana signed into law by Rick Scott

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott on Friday signed into law a broader medical marijuana system for the state, following through on a promise he made earlier this month.

    Gov. Rick Scott signed legislation on Friday that legalizes medical marijuana in Florida.
  3. Line of moms welcome Once Upon A Child to Carrollwood


    CARROLLWOOD — Strollers of all shapes and sizes are lined up in front of the store, and inside, there are racks of children's clothing in every color of the rainbow.

    At Once Upon A Child, you often as many baby strollers outside as you find baby furniture and accessories. It recently opened this location in Carrollwood. Photo by Danielle Hauser
  4. Pastries N Chaat brings North India cuisine to North Tampa


    TAMPA — Pastries N Chaat, a new restaurant offering Indian street food, opened this week near the University of South Florida.

    The menu at Pastries N Chaat includes a large variety of Biriyani, an entree owners say is beloved by millions. Photo courtesy of Pastries N Chaat.
  5. 'Garbage juice' seen as threat to drinking water in Florida Panhandle county


    To Waste Management, the nation's largest handler of garbage, the liquid that winds up at the bottom of a landfill is called "leachate," and it can safely be disposed of in a well that's 4,200 feet deep.

    Three samples that were displayed by Jackson County NAACP President Ronstance Pittman at a public meeting on Waste Management's deep well injection proposal. The sample on the left is full of leachate from the Jackson County landfill, the stuff that would be injected into the well. The sample on the right shows leachate after it's been treated at a wastewater treatment plant. The one in the middle is tap water.