Republic posts $36m pre-tax loss in 1Q

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Republic Airways Holdings has reported a first quarter pre-tax loss of $35.9 million, a 38.5% decrease compared with loss of $58.4 million for the same period year ago.

Operating revenues rose 8.3% to $659 million as operating expenses increased 4.9% year-over-year to $660 million, mainly due to an increase in fuel expense. The carrier's fuel cost jumped 25.5% to $181 million, compared with $144 million for the first-quarter 2010.

Republic's operating loss for the quarter was $600,000.

The branded operations of Frontier Airlines produced revenues of $395 million while load factors reached 78.7%. Pre-tax losses from the branded operations were $55.2 million compared with loss of $70.4 million for the first quarter year ago.

Revenues for Republic's fixed fee operations conducted on behalf of its US major partners were flat compared to the prior year's first quarter. Pre-tax profits in the company's fixed fee flying increased 23.1% to $17.6 million.

Republic's cash balances as of 31 March 2011 were $467 million, of which $226 million was restricted. The company's debt was $2.55 billion.