American Airlines Has Record Profit in First Full Quarter After Merger

FORT WORTH, Texas (TheStreet) -- American (AAL) reported record first-quarter net income on Thursday that beat Wall Street estimates. It was the airline's first full quarter following a merger with US Airways.

American followed Delta (DAL) in reporting record results in the first quarter, once a period when airlines were expected to lose money due to generally low winter travel.

Excluding items, American reported net profit of $402 million, or 54 cents a share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had estimated 48 cents. Revenue rose 5.6% to $10 billion, in line with estimates.

"For the first quarter, I'm pleased to report a record first quarter net profit of $402 million excluding net special credits," said CEO Doug Parker, in a message to employees. "In the entire history of American Airlines, we have never earned $400 million in the first three months of a year, but in the first three months since the merger, we did."

In the same period a year earlier, excluding items, the carrier reported a combined net profit of $62 million for American Airlines and US Airways.

Including items, net profit in the first quarter of 2014 was a record $480 million, compared with a net loss of $297 million in the first quarter of 2013, when AMR Corp. was operating under bankruptcy court protection.

During the quarter, capacity increased 2%. Combined consolidated passenger revenue per available seat mile rose 2.9% to a record 13.67 cents. On the cost side, mainline cost per available seat mile excluding fuel and special charges rose 4% to 8.96 cents. Including fuel and special items, Mainline CASM fell 2.7% including fuel and items.

As of March 31, American had approximately $10.6 billion in total cash and short-term investments, of which $947 million was restricted.

Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C.

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