NWA posts narrower 4th-quarter loss, beats estimates

Northwest headquarters
Northwest Airlines has its headquarters in Eagan, Minnesota.
MPR Photo/Martin Moylan

(AP) - Northwest Airlines Corp. posted a narrower fourth-quarter loss Tuesday, beating Wall Street's forecasts despite higher fuel costs.

For the three months through December, the carrier reported a loss of $8 million, or 3 cents per share. During the same period last year, Northwest had a loss of $267 million, or $3.06 per share, because of hefty bankruptcy expenses.

The most recent figure includes a $14 million pretax loss related to Northwest's stake in Pinnacle Airlines. Excluding that item, Northwest said it broke even.

Analysts had been expecting a loss of 8 cents per share, according to a survey by Thomson Financial. Those forecasts typically exclude one-time items.

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Northwest said revenue increased to $3.10 billion, from $2.98 billion previously. Analysts predicted revenue of $3.03 billion, on average.

Operating costs rose $123 million, or 4.3 percent; without fuel costs, those expenses would have fallen by $6 million, Northwest said.

Northwest emerged from bankruptcy protection May 31. The carrier, the nation's fifth-largest by revenue, did not comment on speculation of a combination with Delta Air Lines Inc.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)