Sky Talk

No. 3 Airlines post record profits


It was another record year for airlines.

As fuel prices continued to remain low, airlines added billions in profits to their bottom lines.

Fort Worth-based American Airlines posted $4.3 billion in profits for the first three quarters in 2015 while Dallas-based Southwest Airlines had $1.6 billion in profits. Several airlines said their quarterly profits broke records, including American.

Earlier this month, the International Air Transport Association revised its airline industry outlook for 2015 up, to a net profit of $33 billion worldwide, about a 4.6 percent net profit margin.

“Passengers are benefiting from greater value than ever—with competitive airfares and product investments,” said IATA director general Tony Tyler.

And the big profits should continue through the fourth quarter as airlines are expected to announce earnings in January.

“The decline in jet fuel costs in the near-term should fall directly to the bottom line as most of the airlines are fully booked for the next few weeks,” wrote Cowen and Company analyst Helane Becker in a research note to investors in December. “The airlines in 2015 were able to capture 60-70% of the decline in jet fuel costs.”