Republic posts bigger profit despite 12,400 flight cancellations

Republic Airways Holdings Inc.’s profit soared in the first quarter despite a significant drag on financial results due to weather-related flight cancellations.

The Indianapolis-based airline company on Thursday reported $14 million in profit in the quarter ended March 31, up from $300,000 in the same period of 2013. Last year’s first-quarter results were hurt by $11.1 in losses from discontinued operations at Frontier Airlines, which Republic sold late last year.

Republic stock rose 9.5 percent Thursday morning after the earnings report, to $9.10 per share.

Republic said it canceled more than 12,400 flights during the first quarter, primarily because of severe winter weather in January and February. It was a 145-percent increase in cancellations from the first quarter of 2013 and reduced financial results by about $7 million, Republic said.

"I am pleased we were able to report improved first quarter financial results despite the most severe weather events in a single quarter I can recall in my 27 years of experience in the airline industry,” Republic CEO Bryan Bedford said in a prepared statement.

Operating revenue increased nearly 4 percent in the quarter, to $337.5 million. Expenses rose 9.3 percent, to $303.3 million.

Passenger traffic for the first quarter increased 11.9 percent, to 2.6 billion revenue passenger miles, on a 6.3-percent rise in capacity.

Republic owns Chautauqua Airlines, Republic Airlines and Shuttle America.

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