Southwest Airlines stayed in the black for the quarter, bolstered by one-time gains from fuel hedging contracts.
The Dallas-based carrier posted a $98 million profit for the first quarter mainly due an increase in value of its fuel contracts. This compared to a $5 million profit in the first quarter of 2011.
The company said revenues rose 28.6 percent to $3.9 billion which included its subsidiary, AirTran Airways. Southwest purchased AirTran last May.
Excluding one-time items, the carrier said it had a first quarter loss of $18 million, or 2 cents per share. This beat expectations of Wall Street analysts, who expected the company to post a 5 cents per share loss for the quarter.
The carrier's fuel bill continued to rise as Southwest paid $3.32 per gallon of jet fuel, up 13.3 percent from $2.93 per gallon in the first quarter of 2011.
"Energy price increases continue to pressure costs, which only serve to reinforce our commitment to eliminate waste and maximize efficiency throughout our company," said Southwest chief executive Gary Kelly in a statement Thursday morning.