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SkyWest 3Q net income jumps to $20.9M

ST. GEORGE, Utah (AP) -- SkyWest Inc. said Wednesday that its third-quarter net income jumped to $20.9 million, helped by a steep drop in fuel costs and performance-based incentive payments.

The St. George, Utah-based company, which operates regional jets for United Continental Holdings Inc. and Delta Air Lines Inc., said its profit for the quarter ended Sept. 30 amounted to 40 cents per share and compared with earnings of $116,000, or break-even per share, in the same quarter last year.

Operating revenue fell 9 percent to $865.3 million.

Analysts, on average, expected earnings of 31 cents per share on $964.6 million in revenue, according to FactSet.

SkyWest said that a change in the way its partners supply it with fuel resulted in a drop in fuel reimbursements that reduced the recent quarter's revenue by $88 million. At the same time the company's fuel costs dropped 55 percent to $71.5 million.

SkyWest said its better-than-expected quarterly profit partially stemmed from incentive payments under its contracts with airline partners related to better on-time and completion factor performance.

The company said it also took steps to reduce its maintenance and crew-related costs.

SkyWest shares fell 33 cents, or 3 percent, to $11.24 in midday trading.