Continental reports first-quarter loss, first profitable month since attacks

Monday, April 15th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

HOUSTON (AP) _ Continental Airlines reported it lost $166 million in the first quarter as its revenue fell 18.7 percent from a year ago, but said Monday that March was its first profitable month since the terror attacks last Septmber.

The loss amounted to $2.61 per share for the January-March period in contrast to a profit of $9 million, or 16 cents a share, a year ago.

Continental also said it had pretax income of $25 million in March, the carrier's first profitable month since Sept. 11.

``Our team of professionals has once again outperformed all others in our crippled industry,'' said Gordon Bethune, Continental Airlines' chairman and chief executive.

Revenue fell to $1.99 billion from $2.45 billion a year earlier.

For the quarter, passenger revenue was down 18.8 percent and cargo revenue fell 16.6 percent from the same period last year. The decrease is blamed on widespread industry fare discounting after Sept. 11.

Excluding a previously disclosed charge for the grounding of its DC10-30 fleet, Continental's loss was $114 million, or $1.79 a share. That was smaller than the $1.97 a share loss anticipated by analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial/First Call.