) -- In what is expected to be its final quarterly report before a merger with




US Airways


beat Wall Street estimates as record passenger loads offset a decrease in passenger yield.

Excluding items, the company earned $324 million, or $1.58 a share, in the quarter. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had estimated $1.51. Revenue rose 2.9% to $3.9 billion. Analysts had estimated $3.8 billion. In the same quarter a year earlier, excluding items, US Airways earned $321 million, or $1.61 a share. The decline reflected a non-cash provision for income tax of $85 million; no provision for income tax record was recorded in 2012.

Including items, the company earned $287 million, or $1.40 a share, down from $306 million, or $1.54 a share, in the same quarter a year earlier.

"This performance provides excellent momentum as we transition into the new American Airlines," said CEO Doug Parker, in a prepared statement. "The teams are working very well together and we continue to expect to close the merger in the third quarter."

During the quarter, capacity rose by 3.4%. Total revenue per available seat mile declined 0.5% to $16.22, driven by a 2.8% decrease in passenger yield, offset by a record quarterly load factor of 85.1%.

On the cost side, mainline cost per available seat mile excluding fuel, special items and profit sharing fell 0.4% to $8.21.

During the second quarter, the company raised approximately $870 million in net incremental cash through a series of financing transactions. "Our record financial results combined with our pending merger with American have enabled the Company to refinance its term loan and secure incremental liquidity at very attractive rates," said Chief Financial Officer Derek Kerr.

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

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Ted Reed