(AP) — With help from Washington, Southwest Airlines is the first major U.S. airline to report a profit since the pandemic started. Southwest said Thursday that it earned net income of $116 million in the first quarter. Without federal payroll aid for airlines, however, Southwest would have lost $1 billion. Southwest is echoing rivals in saying that demand for travel is continuing to improve. Southwest says bookings for leisure trips within the United States have been improving each week since mid-February. Chairman and CEO Gary Kelly says he believes the worst of the pandemic’s impact on travel is behind us.