American Airlines parent AMR says 3Q revenue figure will rise between 9.8 pct and 10.8 pct

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

AMR says 3Q revenue figure will rise

FORT WORTH, Texas — American Airlines parent AMR Corp. says a key third-quarter revenue figure will rise between 9.8 percent and 10.8 percent compared with a year ago.

The company said Tuesday that unit revenue — or total revenue divided by available seats times miles flown — would grow by similar amounts on its main American brand and its American Eagle regional operations.

AMR gave the outlook in a note for investors that it filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

U.S. airlines have been reporting gains in unit revenue this year as they raised fares coming out of the recession and also benefited from fees on checked bags, changing flights and other services. Unit revenue is a closely watched figure that allows comparisons in financial performance among airlines of different sizes.

AMR was the only major U.S. airline to lose money in the second quarter, and it expects its costs to rise slightly and cash to shrink in the third quarter. The Fort Worth company expects to end the third quarter with more than $4.3 billion in unrestricted cash and short-term investments, compared to about $5 billion at the end of the second quarter on June 30.

But traffic is improving. AMR indicated that 2010 traffic measured in miles flown by passengers would rise about 2.4 percent over 2009.

Also Tuesday, the International Air Transport Association said global airlines are rebounding faster than expected from the recession and will earn $8.9 billion this year after losing nearly $26 billion in the previous two years. The group, however, thinks 2010 will be the peak of the cycle for airlines, with tougher conditions in 2011.

The U.S. Department of Transportation reported Monday that airlines earned second-quarter profit margins of 9 percent, the highest since the government starting keeping track in 2002. The government said the airlines raised $2.1 billion in so-called ancillary fees during the quarter, mostly for bag-checking fees and reservation changes.

AMR shares rose 24 cents, or 3.6 percent, to $6.88 in regular trading before release of the investor update. In the first few minutes of extended trading, they gained 2 cents to $6.90.

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