DALLAS - Average fares are rising on Southwest Airlines, and so is the airline's profit.

Southwest said Thursday that third-quarter net income soared to $259 million, or 37 cents per share, from $16 million, or 2 cents per share, a year ago.

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The airline says that excluding special items its adjusted profit was 34 cents per share, matching analysts' forecasts.

The average fare is now $159.39, up 11.3 percent from a year ago.

The airline is also getting a break on fuel prices. It's spending 5.1 percent less at the pump than it did a year ago.