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EARNINGS

Western Airlines Posts 4th-Quarter Loss

January 30, 1986|BILL SING

Blaming fare wars and bad weather, Western Airlines on Wednesday reported a fourth-quarter loss of $7.5 million, 36% larger than the deficit recorded for the same quarter a year earlier. But the Los Angeles-based carrier still earned a record $67.1 million for all of 1985, reversing a $29.2-million loss in 1984.

The 1985 fourth-quarter loss compared to a $5.5-million deficit in the 1984 final period. Operating revenue for the quarter rose 6% to $294.3 million from $278.3 million in the 1984 period.

The company blamed the larger loss in the fourth quarter--typically the airline's slowest period--on fare wars and bad weather, particularly dense fog that kept many Western flights on the ground at some California, Oregon and Washington airports during the busy December holiday season.

But Gerald Grinstein, the company's chairman and chief executive, said Western "is back on track" because of its full-year profit turnaround. Operating revenue for the year rose 11% to $1.31 billion from $1.18 billion in 1984.

Because of earlier pay and productivity concessions granted by workers, Western's cost per available seat mile dropped in 1985 to 7.04 cents, its lowest level since 1980. Its planes were flying at 59.8% of their passenger capacity, above the 57.2% needed to break even.

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