U.S. Airways (NYSE:LCC) reported a first-quarter operating loss on Wednesday but beat Wall Street expectations in both sales and earnings.
The news is positive for the carrier, which is trying to buy American Airlines as that airline undergoes government-backed bankruptcy proceedings in an effort to grab a larger share of the market and boost efficiencies.
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Last week, U.S. Airways said it had the support of American Airlines’ three biggest labor unions.
While the carrier posted net income of $48 million, or 28 cents, compared with a year-earlier loss of $114 million, or 71 cents, it lost about 13 cents a share excluding gains related to the exchange of slots at airports and fuel hedges.
Still, the results were ahead of average analyst estimates in a Thomson Reuters poll of a 25-cent loss. Revenue for the three-month period was up 10% to $3.3 billion from $2.96 billion a year ago, topping the Street’s view of $3.24 billion.
"We are pleased to report significantly improved first quarter financial results in spite of record high fuel prices,” U.S. Airways CEO Doug Parker said in a statement. “Consumer demand for our product remains very high, resulting in record high first quarter revenue, load factor, yield and PRASM.”
Total revenue per available seat mile was a record 15.45 cents, up 7.1% from a year ago, driven by a higher first-quarter load factor of 79.3% and a 6.5% increase in passenger yields.