- Mark Makela / Reuters
- Southwest Airlines said during its second-quarter earnings call on Thursday that April’s emergency landing in Philadelphia cost the carrier $100 million in business.
- Revenue from passenger traffic is down 0.4% over the same period in 2017.
- CEO Gary Kelly attributed higher fuel prices and the effects stemming from the deadly April 17 accident on Flight 1380 for the reduced revenues.
- Despite the challenges, the airline still posted a second-quarter profit.
Southwest Airlines’ business is still feeling the effects of the emergency landing that left one passenger dead on April 17.
“The revenue effects of the accident reduced second quarter 2018 passenger revenues by $100 million. We expect the revenue impact from this headwind to be temporary and subside in third quarter 2018 and are encouraged by the solid rebound in demand,” Southwest CEO Gary Kelly said in a press release on Thursday.
Kelly continued: “I am especially proud of the heroic efforts of our People to address and overcome the challenges resulting from the accident.”
Twenty minutes into Flight 1380 from New York to Dallas, an engine exploded in midair, shattering a window. The explosion prompted an emergency landing at Philadelphia International Airport as the plane depressurized and lost altitude.
Seven passengers were taken to the hospital for injuries sustained during the explosion. Jennifer Riordan, 43, died as a result of her injuries. Riordan lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she worked as a vice president of community relations at Wells Fargo. Riordan is survived by her husband, Michael, and two children.
The fatality was the first on an American airline since 2009. The Dallas-based carrier experienced a decline in bookings following the increased publicity generated by the tragic accident. The airline said in June that it expected its revenue per mile flown to fall 3%, CNN Money reported.
On Thursday, Southwest announced that unit revenue did in fact fall 3% from a year ago.
Southwest also experienced difficulties stemming from rising fuel costs. Fuel prices have increased by as much as 50% this year, leading to lower profit projections by both domestic and international legacy carriers.
Despite these challenges, Southwest still posted a second-quarter profit, with net income of $733 million and second-quarter total operating revenues increasing 0.2% to $5.7 billion.
However, revenue from passenger traffic, compared to the same period in 2017, is down 0.4% to $5.36 billion.