After years of financial losses, the industry "is heading in the right direction," said John Heimlich, chief economist for Airlines for America. While first-quarter revenues were up 2.5% to $34.3 billion, the historically tough quarter resulted in a combined loss of $552 million -- an improvement over last year's first-quarter loss of $1.7 billion. The improved outlook is a result of better customer service metric results and jet fuel prices stabilizing. Heimlich also noted that sequestration-related delays cost airlines about $50 million in added operational expenses such as additional fuel burn and rescheduling crews.
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