While the revenue story has improved for U.S. carriers, the cost story has become a headwind. Still, as American Airlines demonstrated in its fourth quarter results, costs are a headwind that can be overcome. With that, AA joined Delta and United in delivering solid fourth quarters and downright strong full-year results. And things only got better from there. Southwest delivered a higher profit margin than the Big Three despite new labor contracts and higher fuel costs.
JetBlue continues to ride its strong Boston base and healthy transcontinental markets to spectacular heights. And then there’s Hawaiian Airlines—the only carrier (of those reporting so far) who didn’t see costs rise faster than revenues. It’s all smiles so far in the U.S. earnings season, but Hawaiian’s smile might be brightest.