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Southwest 3Q profit rises on more passengers, flights

NEW YORK (AP) — Southwest Airlines is reporting profits rose more than 16 percent during the third quarter as it booked more passengers on more flights.
The company earned $615 million, or $1.08 per share, beating estimates by 2 cents, according to a survey by Zacks Investment Research.
Revenue rose 5.1 percent to $5.58 billion, also edging out forecasts.
Revenue for every seat flown one mile — a figure that airline investors watch closely — rose 2.3 percent during the quarter.
Chairman and CEO Gary Kelly said, however, that year-over-year unit cost inflation will rise 3 percent, excluding fuel and gas expenses, as the carrier updates its fleet.
Shares of Southwest Airlines Co. slid almost 7 percent before the opening bell Thursday, though Kelly said the company still hopes to expand margins.

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