With a little help from a strike that shut down a competitor for about two weeks, Vanguard Airlines Inc. on Monday reported the second profitable quarter in the Kansas City-based company's history.
``With two consecutive quarters of profitability behind us, and the likelihood of another in the fourth quarter,'' said Rocky Spane, Vanguard president and chief executive, ``we believe that Vanguard's turnaround is complete.''
He stood by an earlier prediction that Vanguard would finish 1998 with a modest profit.
Now that the company's on better financial footing, Spane said Vanguard was looking to expand.
The company has begun negotiating to purchase an unspecified number of used Boeing 737-200 aircraft for staggered delivery over the next two years, he said. Vanguard currently operates nine of the airplanes.
Spane said Vanguard also was near a deal to lease at least two additional aircraft as it pushes into new markets that aren't already served by low-cost competitor Southwest Airlines.
For the three months ended Sept. 30, Vanguard reported net income of $3.4 million, or 4 cents per diluted share. A year ago, the budget air carrier reported a loss of $6.6 million, or 43 cents per share. Operating revenues also increased, to $32.18 million from $19.33 million a year ago.
Spane said the two-week strike against Northwest Airlines accounted for one-third of Vanguard's profit during the quarter.
Through the first nine months of the year, Vanguard was still reporting a net loss of $904,000, or a loss of 2 cents per diluted share. A year ago, it had $21.69 million through September. That amounted to a loss of $1.68 per diluted share.
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