Transportation Dept. releases 2014 airline financial data

The Department of Transpotation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported this week that net profits for scheduled passenger airlines dropped to $7.5 billion in 2014 - down from $12.2 billion in 2013.

In total, 27 airlines in the United States operated scheduled passenger service in 2014. The airlines realized an after-tax net profit for the fifth year in a row and reported an increased pre-tax operating profit in 2014 for the sixth consecutive year. That number was up from $11.3 billion in 2013 to $14.6 billion.

Total operating revenue for all U.S. passenger airlines in 2014 was $169.3 billion. Airlines collected $127.5 billion from fares, 75.3 percent of total 2014 operating revenue.

As a group, the U.S. passenger airlines paid $154.7 billion for operating expenses. Fuel costs accounted for $43.4 billion (28.1 percent) of those expenses, while labor costs were $40.8 billion (26.4 percent). In the fourth quarter of 2014, the airlines reported a net profit of $241 million -- a sharp decrease from the $3.1 billion in profits reported the previous quarter and $7.2 billion in profits reported in the fourth quarter of 2013.