By DAVID KOENIG
AP Airlines Writer
DALLAS (AP) — Thanks to strong passenger traffic over the winter holidays, Southwest Airlines is reporting a $68 million profit for the fourth quarter. Southwest said Thursday it was the airline’s first profit without federal pandemic aid since late 2019. The airline is facing higher costs, however, from boosting wages and hiring more workers. Southwest says that adjusted earnings in the fourth quarter were 14 cents per share, beating Wall Street’s forecast of 7 cents per share. Revenue was also higher than analysts expected. JetBlue reported a loss of $129 million, while Alaska Airlines eked out an $18 million profit.