Republic Airways—parent of Chautauqua Airlines, Frontier Airlines, Republic Airlines and Shuttle America—reported first-quarter net income of $0.3 million, reversed from a net loss of $7.1 million in the year-ago quarter.

First-quarter revenue rose 8.9% to $635.6 million while expenses decreased 10.3% to $605.5 million, producing an operating profit of 30.1 million, up 35.6% from $22.2 million year-over-year. The company said fuel costs for Republic decreased $46.2 million to $13.6 million for the quarter.

Republic Airways Holdings chairman and CEO Bryan Bedford said, “This is the first time in four years that we have produced positive earnings during the first quarter and our results reflect the continued improvement in the business.”

First-quarter mainline passenger traffic for its Republic segment decreased 0.3% to 2.29 billion RPMs on a 6% drop in capacity to 3.17 ASMs, producing a load factor of 72.4%, up 4.1 points year-over-year. Frontier traffic decreased 9.4% to 2.3 billion RPMs on a 12.6% decrease in capacity to 2.62 billion ASMs, pushing up load factor 3.1 points to 87.8%.

As of March 31, Republic operated 70 aircraft with 44-50 seats and 152 aircraft with 69-99 seats to support its fixed-fee commercial agreements. Under the pro-rate agreement with Frontier, Republic operated five 99-seat Embraer E-190 aircraft.

On March 12, the US Bankruptcy Court approved the capacity purchase agreement, as amended, with American Airlines to operate 47 ERJ aircraft in fixed-fee operations. The first aircraft is expected to be delivered in July and is scheduled to enter service for American Aug. 1. The company anticipates taking delivery of 18 new E-175 aircraft in 2013, it said.