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Fuel costs drag down AirTran earnings, but capacity expansion continues
Struggling to contend with fast-rising fuel costs, AirTran Airways posted a $4.6 million net loss for the first quarter but continued its expansion push by converting options into firm orders for 14 737-700s.
"We continue to be challenged by the high cost of fuel impacting our bottom line," said CFO Stan Gadek. Orlando-based AirTran has posted annual profits for seven consecutive years, but last year's net was only $1.7 million and its first-quarter fuel costs jumped 63% year-over-year to $129.3 million.