AMR Sees Business Travel Picking Up
(Updated with CFO comments on business travel, stock price move.)
"We're seeing signs that business travelers are getting back on the road," CFO Tom Horton said Wednesday on AMR's earnings conference call.
In November and December, corporate travel was up from a year earlier, Horton said. Corporate travel revenue was flat, compared with a decline of 35 points from its low point in May.Advance bookings are "up modestly vs. last year," he added. International premium travel has made a return, albeit at lower yields than in 2009. Earlier, American reported a $415 million fourth-quarter loss, as the global recession reduced demand for air travel, particularly premium class air travel. Excluding items, the carrier lost $1.25 a share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had estimated a loss of $1.22 a share. Revenue fell 7.4% to $5.1 billion. Analysts had estimated $5 billion. The net loss was $344 million or $1.03 a share. Non-cash special items included hedging gains of about $248 million, as well as charges of $177 million, headed by an impairment charge of $96 million to write down routes and slot authorities, mainly in Latin America. In the fourth quarter of 2008, excluding items, American lost $221 million, while the net loss was $347 million. During the quarter, mainline revenue per available seat mile declined by 4.3%. American said year-over-year declines in mainline passenger RASM and consolidated revenue have narrowed sequentially in the third and fourth quarters.
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