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US Airways Beats Estimates, Looks to 'Whatever May Lie Ahead'

CHARLOTTE, N.C. ( TheStreet) -- In what is possibly its last quarterly earnings report before a merger with bankrupt AMR (AAMRQ.PK), US Airways (LCC) beat estimates as strong demand led to record fourth-quarter revenue.

"We enter 2013 with great momentum and enthusiasm and are well-positioned for whatever may lie ahead," said CEO Doug Parker, in a prepared statement Wednesday.

Excluding items, the carrier earned $46 million, or 26 cents a share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had estimated 19 cents. Revenue rose 3.9% to a record $3.3 billion, in line with estimates.

In the same period a year earlier, excluding items, US Airways earned $21 million, or 13 cents a share.

Including items, net income was $37 million, or 22 cents a share, up from $18 million, or 11 cents a share, in the same period a year earlier.

Hurricane Sandy had a negative impact of $35 million during the quarter. Nevertheless, the carrier said "a strong demand environment and record passenger yields" led to record revenue on a 1.4% capacity increase. Consolidated revenue per available seat mile rose 2.5% to a record 15.58 cents. On the cost side, consolidated cost per available seat mile excluding fuel, special items and profit sharing rose 1.8%.

For the full year, excluding items, US Airways reported a record net profit of $537 million, or $2.79 a share, up from $111 million, or 68 cents a share. With items, the net profit was $637 million, or $3.28 a share, up 797% from $71 million or 44 cents a share, in the same period a year earlier. Revenue rose 5.9% to $13.8 billion.

"We couldn't be happier with the performance of US Airways in 2012," Parker said, focusing on operating performance in his prepared statement.

"Our team members produced the best operating reliability performance in our history -- which is no easy feat since US Airways led all network carriers in on-time performance from 2008-2011," Parker said. "But in 2012, we did even better with record highs in on-time performance, completion factor and baggage handling. This helped lead to our best ever annual results in total revenue, total traffic, mainline load factor, mainline yield and mainline revenue."

During the year, Parker noted, US Airways stock rose 166%, the biggest increase of any company in the Fortune 500.

At year-end, US Airways had $2.71 billion in total cash and investments, including restricted cash of $336 million. A year earlier, the carrier had $2.31 billion of which $365 million was restricted.

-- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Ted Reed

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