updated 10/27/2005 6:23:19 PM ET 2005-10-27T22:23:19

Northwest Airlines Corp.’s quarterly loss ballooned tenfold to $475 million because of bankruptcy costs and more expensive fuel, the airline said Thursday.

Northwest filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Sept. 14.

The nation’s fourth-largest carrier said it lost $5.45 per share during the quarter that ended Sept. 30, up from $46 million, or 54 cents per share during the same period last year.

The loss included $82 million in charges for freezing pensions for nonunion workers and $159 million in bankruptcy costs.

Excluding the losses, Northwest said it would have lost $234 million, or $2.69 per share. The consensus of analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial was for a loss on that basis of $4.13 per share.

Operating revenue was $3.38 billion. Analysts expected $3.27 billion.

“Our third-quarter results clearly demonstrate the need for Northwest to restructure expeditiously,” said President and Chief Executive Doug Steenland. He said the company is trying to cut labor and other costs, renegotiate the leases on its aircraft, and it’s developing a more efficient business model so it can begin making money again. Those goals would add up to $2.5 billion in “overall profit improvement,” Steenland said.

Northwest last reported results in July. Since then, its mechanics have gone on strike, fuel prices have increased dramatically, and it has filed for bankruptcy protection. Northwest said it paid $1.84½ cents per gallon for fuel during the quarter, up 48 percent from the same period last year.

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