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Published: Friday, 4/26/2002

AirTran posts quarterly loss, sees profit ahead

CHICAGO - AirTran Holdings, Inc. , parent of low-cost carrier AirTran Airways, yesterday reported a $3 million first-quarter net loss, joining major carriers in reporting losses as fares remain cheap and traffic light following the Sept. 11 airline hijack attacks.

However, AirTran had a profitable March, expects to turn a profit in the second quarter and, if its business plan holds, will turn a profit in the third and fourth quarters, Chief Executive Joe Leonard said in an interview.

"We believe we will be profitable in the second quarter, which will put us in a pretty small club," Mr. Leonard said.

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