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With planes back in air, ValuJet trims its losses

ValuJet Airlines, now flying under a new name, said Wednesday that its third-quarter loss narrowed from the same period last year, when it incurred greater costs from being grounded after its fatal Florida Everglades crash.

ValuJet lost $14.6-million, or 27 cents a share, in the July-September quarter, compared to a loss of $21.9-million, or 40 cents a share, last year.

Revenue was $56.4-million, compared with $311,000 last year when the airline was grounded by the Federal Aviation Administration because of safety concerns after the crash, which left 110 dead.

ValuJet is merging with AirWays Corp. of Orlando, the owner of AirTran Airways Inc. Last month, the airline officially retired the ValuJet name and became AirTran. The merger should be completed next month.

D. Joseph Corr, president and chief executive officer of AirTran Airlines, said the airline's new look and strategy of trying to draw more business travelers won't start showing benefits until next year's first quarter.

AirTran serves 22 cities with 174 flights a day.

For the first nine months of the year ValuJet lost $42.3-million, or 77 cents a share, on revenue of $141.1-million. Last year, it lost $20.9-million, or 28 cents a share, on revenue of $191.5-million.

ValuJet's stock rose 18} cents to close at $5.81\ on the Nasdaq exchange.

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