) --



likely closed out its run in bankruptcy court with one of the best second quarters in its history.

The carrier, which expects to complete a merger with

US Airways


in the current quarter, said its net profit, excluding items, in the second quarter was $357 million, representing a $262 million improvement over the same period a year earlier. Consolidated revenue was flat at $6.5 billion.

Including items, the profit was $220 million, compared with a loss of $241 million in the same period a year earlier.

American, which has been operating under bankruptcy court protection since November 2011, became the first airline to report second-quarter earnings. Most carriers will report next week.

During the quarter, consolidated and mainline capacity rose approximately 1.1%, compared with the same period a year earlier, while passenger revenue per available seat mile declined by 0.9%. The carrier said close-in demand began to decline in March, but PRASM subsequently increased during the quarter.

On the cost side, cost per available seat mile excluding fuel and special items decreased by 5.8%, driven by restructuring efforts. The company ended the quarter with $7.1 billion in cash and short-term investments.

Looking ahead, American estimates consolidated capacity will gain 2.7% in the current quarter, driven by longer stage length and by new international capacity.

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

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Ted Reed