Pinnacle posts solid 3Q earnings

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Pinnacle Airlines Corp, the parent of regional operators Colgan Air, Mesaba Aviation and Pinnacle Airlines, saw its third quarter pre-tax income drop slightly to $15.3 million from the $16.4 million it recorded in the year-earlier period.

Revenue for the three months ended 30 September grew by 39% year-over-year to $302.3 million, while expenses grew to $276.6 million from $193.4 million.

The increase in operating revenue was largely attributable to the acquisition of Mesaba, which contributed additional revenue of $71.5 million.

"Both Pinnacle Airlines and Colgan Air reported solid financial results in the third quarter of 2010, and the acquisition of Mesaba was accretive from day one," notes company president and CEO Philip Trenary.

Pinnacle achieved a third quarter net profit of $9.4 million, an increase of 29%, and operating income of $25.7 million, an increase of $1.9 million.

For the nine months ended 30 September, the company reported pre-tax income of $27.9 million, down from $34.5 million during the same nine-month period in 2009.

Pinnacle Airlines and Mesaba operate under the Delta Connection banner for Delta Air lines. Colgan Air operates as Continental Connection, United Express and US Airways Express.

Overall, the company generated $59.6 million in cash from operating activities during the third quarter of 2010.

"Our operating cash flow and liquidity strengthened considerably during the third quarter of 2010," says company CFO Peter Hunt. "However, our liquidity will decrease in the fourth quarter of 2010 and first quarter of 2011 as we make investments in new, next-generation [Bombardier] Q400 aircraft. These investments will position us to continue to grow earnings and cash flow in the future."