For US airlines, this could be the Golden Age of Travel: profits, stock prices rising

Markets Associated Press

Strong travel demand, higher fares and more recently lower fuel prices have boosted profits at big airlines over the last couple years. The Arca index of airline stocks is up 111 percent since the start of 2013, and Virgin America's IPO jumped on Friday. Here are gains in major U.S. airline stocks over that period, and the airlines' recent financial results:

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— Southwest Airlines Co., stock up 285 percent. Net income, first nine months of 2014: $946 million. For all of 2013: $754 million.

— Delta Air Lines Inc., stock up 271 percent. Net income, first nine months of 2014: $1.37 billion. For 2013: $10.54 billion including $8 billion tax benefit.

— United Continental Holdings Inc., stock up 143 percent. Net income, first nine months of 2014: $1.10 billion. For 2013: $571 million.

— JetBlue Airways Corp., stock up 120 percent. Net income, first nine months of 2014: $313 million. For 2013: $168 million.

— American Airlines Group Inc., stock up 85 percent since it started trading Dec. 9, 2013. Net income, first nine months of 2014: $1.13 billion. For 2013: loss of $1.83 billion including $3.08 billion in net special items, mostly costs related to bankruptcy and merger with US Airways.

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Sources: Company filings, Associated Press research. Stock prices are through Thursday.