Republic Airways pulls out of earnings dive

Restructuring efforts at Republic Airways Holdings spurred the regional airline operator to a fourth-quarter profit of $12.6 million, or 25 cents per share, the company announced Wednesday.

That compares with a net loss of $123.5 million, or $2.55 a share, for the same quarter last year.

Operating revenue at the Frontier Airlines parent fell 3.7 percent to $672.1 million.

Republic also reversed losses for the full year, posting a profit of $51.3 million, or $1.02 a share. 

In 2011, Republic lost $151.8 million or $3.14 a share.

Republic CEO Bryan Bedford said restructuring that began in 2011 “laid the foundation for Frontier to return to profitability,” despite higher fuel costs.

Indianapolis-based Republic also made improvements in its regional fleet, which flies on contract for major carriers. Republic found new uses in fixed-fee contract flying for the 50-seat aircraft used by its Chautauqua Airlines unit.

The economics of the smaller regional jets have become unfavorable as jet fuel prices have soared. The Chautauqua restructuring is expected to bring an average of $45 million a year in cash flow improvement over the next five years, the company said. 

Republic’s Frontier Airlines is based in Denver.

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