Top US airlines see $2.4 billion in profits for Q3

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The top 10 US airlines reported a combined $2.4 billion operating profit in the third quarter of 2012, preliminary data from the US Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) shows.

Profit margins for these carriers fell to 6.4% in the third quarter, down from 6.8% in the same period a year earlier. The carriers transported 77.5% of all scheduled service passengers in the US during that timeframe.

Delta Air Lines reported the highest operating profit in the third quarter, with $1.46 billion. ExpressJet recorded the lowest profit, with $4 million.

These airlines totalled $924 million in baggage fees during the quarter and $652 million from fees for reservation changes.

These top airlines recorded $1.4 billion in combined net income in the third quarter. Delta came out on top with 1.17 billion, and American Airlines was last with a loss of $256.9 million in net income.

The top carriers are calculated by the number of passengers carried in each quarter. For the third quarter the ranking starting with the top carrier is as follows: Southwest Airlines, Delta, United Airlines, American, US Airways, ExpressJet, JetBlue, SkyWest Airlines, Alaska Air and AirTran.