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AirTran Holdings Inc., parent of AirTran Airways, has reported that its second quarter net profit grew to $41.5 million or 41 cents per share, primarily because of growing numbers of passengers. Earnings results were up 29.9 percent compared with net income of $32 million, or 32 cents per share, for the second quarter of 2006.

The Orlando, Fla.-based company, which is seeking a hostile takeover of Oak Creek-based Midwest Air Group Inc., said it served a record 6.3 million passengers during the quarter and set a load factor record of 78.8 percent. The airline reported revenue of $614.1 million, up 16.3 percent from the $528.2 million recorded in the same period last year.

AirTran Airways announced that it will be adding seasonal nonstop service between Lambert-St. Louis International Airport in St. Louis, Mo., and Sarasota Bradenton International Airport in Sarasota, Fla. The new daily flight from the Gateway City to Sarasota/Bradenton will begin November 15, 2007.

Midwest Air Group Inc.'s second-quarter profits fell 44.6 percent despite rising revenue and passenger traffic. The Oak Creek-based operator of Midwest Airlines reported net income of $4.9 million, or 19 cents per share, compared with $8.8 million, or 39 cents per share, for the same period a year ago. Revenue increased to $194.5 million, up 10 percent from $176.9 million. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call expected the airline to report 36 cents per share, on average.

Midwest Air management said the cost of fending off a hostile takeover attempt by Orlando, Fla.-based AirTran Holdings Inc. cut into earnings by $2.9 million, or 11 cents per share. Operating expenses, including fuel costs, increased because of the ramping up of the airline's capacity expansion plans and passengers taking longer trips.

Whose message to Midwest's board is: if you can't beat 'em, join em...
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