Southwest Airlines Posts Surprising Profit for 2009

Remember when we called Gary Kelly of Southwest Airlines the CEO of the Year? Despite a bleak year for the airline business, Kelly told us he hadn’t given up on turning an annual profit for 2009.

Well, it looks like he was right to keep his hopes up, as today Southwest reported a net income of $99 million for the year, thanks largely to a $116 million net income for the fourth quarter. (Compared to a $56 million loss in the fourth quarter of 2008). It’s the company’s 37th straight year of profitability, unmatched in its industry.

Gary C. Kelly, CEO, stated: “In what has been, perhaps, the most difficult revenue environment the airline industry has ever faced, we are extremely proud to report our 2009 earnings, which represents our 37th consecutive year of profitability. To report any profit in these times is a major accomplishment, and I could not be more proud of our Employees who worked so hard to finish the year strong with a fourth quarter and full year profit. Our People responded swiftly and successfully to the dramatic fall-off in demand for business travel precipitated by the recession”

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