CORRECTED – UPDATE 2-AirTran posts loss, says travel demand grows

(Corrects last paragraph to show the cost increase is for full
year, not second quarter)

* Q1 net loss vs. year-ago profit

* Revenue trends improving

* Rising fuel costs pressure Q1
(Adds estimates, outlook, NEW YORK to dateline)

NEW YORK/ATLANTA, April 21 (BestGrowthStock) – AirTran Holdings Inc
(AAI.N: ) reported a first-quarter loss on Wednesday, weighed
down by higher fuel costs and expenses tied to winter storms.

Still, the parent of low-cost carrier AirTran Airways cited
“significant revenue growth and passenger demand” as the
economic recovery takes hold. The company said second-quarter
unit revenue could rise as much as 14 percent.

The first-quarter net loss was $12 million, or 9 cents a
share, compared with a year-earlier profit of $28.7 million, or
21 cents a share.

Excluding one-time items, the company posted a loss of 12
cents per share, roughly in line with analyst expectations,
according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Shares are up 11 percent so far this year.

Revenue rose about 12 percent to $605.1 million, compared
with $606.2 million expected by analysts.

Operating expenses rose about 22 percent, mostly due to
fuel costs, which accounted for the bulk of the increase.

“The impact of historic winter snowstorms along the Eastern
Seaboard and more than a 50 percent increase in fuel expenses
offset record total revenues for the first quarter,” the
company said in a statement.

In the second quarter, capacity — or available seat miles
— is slated to increase 4 percent, while costs per available
seat mile are expected to increase as much as 4.5 percent,
excluding fuel costs.

For the full year, costs per ASM are slated to rise between
4 percent and 5 percent, excluding fuel costs.

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(Reporting by Deepa Seetharaman and Karen Jacobs; Editing by
Gerald E. McCormick and Maureen Bavdek)

CORRECTED – UPDATE 2-AirTran posts loss, says travel demand grows