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Southwest's profits in line with expectations, shares flat

Southwest Airlines' shares eased 0.3% yesterday as it reported fourth-quarter net profit rose 13% to USD131 million, as it gained market share due to its no-checked-bags fee policy and the economy improved. CEO Gary Kelly stated: "Booking and revenue trends suggest similar year-over-year improvement in January versus December 2010", adding: “Bookings in place for the remainder of the first quarter also are strong.”

Shares in Southwest's acquisition target AirTran also fell 0.3% yesterday. Mr Kelly stated the buyout would yield net annual synergies of more than USD400 million by 2013.

US airline stocks mostly declined on Thursday, led by Hawaiian Airlines (-4.3%), Alaska Airlines (-2.3%) and American Airlines (-2.1%).

North and Latin American airlines' daily share price movements: 20-Jan-2011

AAD