Allegiant: The Other Profitable U.S. Airline

This tiny, cut-rate, no-frills airline ferries small-town vacationers to Vegas and other resortsand stays out of big rivals' hair
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Southwest Airlines' financial success is the stuff of business legend: a 65-quarter span of profitability dating from 1991. But even Southwest, which now flies more passengers annually than any of its Big Six U.S. rivals, has begun showing strains in the face of unrelenting price increases for crude oil, which neared $128 a barrel on May 16. If not for long-term jet fuel contracts that locked in lower prices (BusinessWeek.com, 5/6/08), Southwest would have slipped into red ink in nine quarters this decade.

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