American Airlines Group Inc.  (AAL) - Get Report posted better-than-expected fourth quarter earnings Thursday and guided investors to a stronger performance in 2019 that it said would top its key competitors.

American said adjusted earnings for the three months ending in December came in at $1.04 per share, three cents ahead of the consensus forecast and up 11.8% from the same period last year. Group revenues were pegged at 10.938 billion on a non-GAAP basis, up around $300 million from the comparable quarter. 

American said it sees full year 2019 earnings in the range of $5.50 to $7.50 per share, well ahead of the Refinitiv consensus of $5.90, adding that "total revenue per available seat mile (will) grow faster than our network competitors."

"We enter 2019 with great momentum. We are intent upon running the most reliable operation in our post-merger history, pursuing high margin growth opportunities at our most profitable hubs, and executing on a number of valuable revenue and cost saving initiatives," said CEO Doug Parker. "At the midpoint of our guidance, 2019 diluted earnings per share excluding special items would increase approximately 40 percent versus 2018."

American Airlines shares rose 6.4% to close at $33.66 on trading on Thursday.