On the heels of a chaotic year featuring surging fuel costs, perilous weather, the bankruptcy of two legacy carriers and the failure of a low-cost competitor, Southwest Airlines once again demonstrated a "record unmatched in this bruising commercial airline business," reporting net earnings of $548 million for 2005, a remarkable 75.1% increase over a 2004 profit of $313 million as its extensive hedges cushioned the impact of high fuel prices. CEO Gary Kelly said yesterday that the airline ...

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