The fuel hedges that helped Southwest Airlines stay profitable while surging oil prices crippled its US rivals now have resulted in the carrier's first quarterly net loss in 17 years, a $120 million deficit that represented a reversal from the $162 million profit reported in the third quarter of 2007. The company took a $247 million charge as oil prices dropped, a sum that "essentially reversed a large portion of mark-to-market gains recognized in prior periods," it said. It remains ...

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