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TEMPE, Ariz. (


) --

US Airways


reported a lower loss and beat estimates for the third quarter. The airline also sees improving demand for business and leisure traffic.

Excluding items, the carrier lost $110 million, or 83 cents a share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had estimated a loss of 94 cents. Revenue fell 16.6% to $2.7 billion, in line with estimates.

The net loss was $80 million or 60 cents a share, compared with a net loss of $866 million or $8.46 a share in the same period a year earlier. Excluding special items, the loss a year earlier was $243 million or $2.36 a share.

Realized fuel hedging losses during the quarter were $50 million, the carrier said.

"Our third-quarter financial results reflect the soft, but improving economic environment," said CEO Doug Parker, in a prepared statement, who cited "improving demand environment for both business and leisure travel."

Total revenue per available seat mile fell 13.5% as capacity fell 3.6%. Ancillary revenue totaled about $110 million, and the carrier said fee revenue will generate more than $500 million annually. Consolidated PRASM fell 15.4%. On the cost side, excluding fuel and special items, mainline cost per available seat mile fell 0.3% to 8.06 cents.

As of Sept. 30, the carrier had $2 billion in total cash and investments, of which $500 million was restricted.

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