Meanwhile, AMR said its third-quarter loss resulted primarily from a fuel bill that was $1.1 billion higher than in the same quarter a year earlier. The loss was equivalent to $1.39 a share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial had estimated a loss of $1.50. Revenue rose 8% to $6.4 billion, slightly ahead of expectations.
After items were factored in, American reported a profit of $45 million, including a $432 million gain from the sale of American Beacon Advisors.
"While fuel prices have fallen from record high levels a few months ago, the economic uncertainty, and what that might mean for travel demand, is a serious concern," said CEO Gerard Arpey, in a prepared statement. "It would also be short-sighted to conclude that fuel prices, which remain volatile, are no longer a challenge."
Arpey said, however, that American is benefitting from continuing capacity-reduction efforts. Looking ahead to 2009, system capacity will be down 9% from 2007 levels and 6% from 2008. Mainline domestic capacity will be 14% lower than 2007 and 8.5% from this year.
During the quarter, mainline unit revenue rose by 10.9%. Other revenue, including sales from newly added fees, rose 14.3% to $577 million. Excluding fuel and other special items, cost per available seat mile rose by 4.3%, reflecting capacity-reduction charges, higher material and repair costs and foreign-exchange rates.
American also said it has obtained financing for 20 Boeing 737-800s scheduled for delivery in 2009.