DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — Passenger revenue almost tripled and Southwest Airlines posted a smaller loss that most had expected, despite slowing air traffic in the third quarter with the spread of the COVID-19 delta variant.

The net income of the Dallas-based airline was $446 million, or 73 cents per share, bouncing back from a loss over the same period last year. There were one-time costs that drove a per-share loss of 23 cents, but that’s not as bad as the per-share loss of 27 cents that Wall Street was expecting, according to a survey by Zacks Investment Research.

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“Third quarter 2021 was a challenge for us, operationally,” said CEO and Chairman Gary Kelly in a prepared statement. “Despite the deceleration of traffic in August and September due to surging COVID-19 cases, the third quarter 2021 demand and revenue performance was quite strong and a dramatic improvement from a year ago. That was a bright and encouraging sign of recovery.”

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Revenue was $4.68 billion, also better than expected.

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(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

CBSDFW.com Staff