DALLAS (AP) – Southwest Airlines is getting a small break at the fuel pump, and that’s helping it beat Wall Street expectations for profit.

The airline said Thursday that net income in the second quarter was $224 million, or 31 cents per share.

That’s down 2 percent from a year ago, but stripping away special items — mostly changes in the value of fuel-hedging bets — Southwest says it would’ve earned 38 cents per share. That’s a penny better than analysts were expecting.

Lower oil prices early in the April-to-June quarter are helping Southwest shave 6 percent off its fuel bill, and planes are packed as the summer travel season hits full stride.

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