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Airlines Post Best Profits Since 2006

Fares may be down a tad, but the airlines aren’t complaining. Their after-tax net profit for the third quarter of 2015 was the highest since the first quarter of 2006.

According to the DOT’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the U.S. airlines as a group netted $9.3 billion in the third quarter of 2015, versus $5.5 billion in the second quarter of 2015 and $3.1 billion in the third quarter of 2014. Net profit margin for the quarter was a hefty 20.5 percent.

Operating expenses for the period totaled $36.4 billion, including $11.9 million in labor costs (32.6 percent of the total) and $7.1 billion for fuel (19.4 percent).

Among the many fees imposed by the airlines, the DOT only collects data on baggage and reservations-change fees. From the former, airlines banked $1.0 billion (2.3 percent of total operating revenue); and for the latter, revenue totaled $755 million (1.7 percent).

Bottom line: Business is booming and the airlines are raking it in.

This article originally appeared on

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