The airline said Thursday, however, that it made money in March and expects to be solidly profitable in the April-through-June quarter that includes the start of the peak summer travel season.
Southwest had already indicated it would lose money in the first quarter. The loss was narrower than Southwest’s $278 million loss a year earlier. After one-time items, it worked out to 27 cents per share, matching the expectation of analysts surveyed by FactSet.
Revenue rose 22% to a first-quarter record of $5.71 billion, slightly less than analysts expected.
The Dallas-based airline said the winter breakdown cost $380 million in the quarter from lost bookings and extra expenses. Southwest failed to bounce back after a winter storm just before Christmas, and its problems were compounded when its crew-rescheduling system broke down, leading to 16,700 canceled flights in a 10-day stretch.
Airlines are looking ahead to this summer. Strong travel demand and a limited supply of flights are keeping average fares high, which will boost airline revenue. But the carriers are facing higher costs for labor and fuel, plus the possibility of a recession that could hurt ticket sales.