Southwest Airlines Co. earned a record fourth-quarter profit of $536 million as fuel costs fell by nearly one-third and offset lower fares and rising labor costs.
Net income nearly tripled from a year ago.
Chairman and CEO Gary Kelly said travel demand in 2016 continues to be strong but at weaker average fares.
With all the cash it is generating, the airline plans to buy back even more stock.
Its shares edged up in premarket trading.
Southwest said Thursday that profit excluding one-time items like fuel-hedging costs was 90 cents per share, matching the expectations of analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research and FactSet. The net income of $536...