Hawaiian Airlines’
profit plunges
44 percent

Hawaiian Airlines, which has been negotiating with its pilots union this week to reach a last-minute deal on a labor contract, posted a $4.4 million operating profit in March despite a 40.7 percent jump in fuel costs from a year earlier.

However, the company's operating gain was down about 44 percent from a year-earlier profit of $7.8 million and March marked the eighth month in a row that the carrier has seen its year-over-year earnings decline. Fuel costs rose to $14.4 million in the month. Labor costs rose 3.2 percent to $18.9 million.

Revenue increased 9.4 percent to $69.7 million from $63.7 million a year earlier.

The company, which had $2.8 million in nonoperating expenses last month, had a net loss of $2 million. In March 2004, Hawaiian had a net gain of $3.3 million.

"In these tough times for our industry, any operating profit is an accomplishment," Hawaiian Airlines trustee Joshua Gotbaum said. "We view these results as proof that Hawaiian continues to deliver the best airline service for Hawaii."

For the quarter, Hawaiian's net income fell 46.5 percent to $8.4 million from $15.7 million a year earlier while revenue gained 6.5 percent to $189.3 million from $177.8 million.

Last week, federal Bankruptcy Judge Robert Faris urged the carrier and the Air Line Pilots Association to reach a ratified labor agreement before he rules on a motion to impose a contract on the union. Faris said he would rule soon.

Hawaiian's cash during the month fell to $111.7 million from $113.2 million at the beginning of March. The airline started the year with $110.6 million in cash.

The airline's revenue per available seat mile rose 8.9 percent in March from a year earlier while its cost per available seat mile gained 16.3 percent.

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