American Airlines Merger Leads to On-time Gains, Says President Scott Kirby

Story has been updated with American share price.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (TheStreet) -- American Airlines (AAL) President Scott Kirby said April was the best operating month in the company's history, providing "just a fantastic way to start the merger" with US Airways. The primary cause, he said, was improved morale.

"The month of April is arguable the best operating month at legacy American Airlines," Kirby said Wednesday morning, speaking at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch airline investor conference.

The most important factor in the improvement, Kirby said, is that "we have a team of 100,000 people that for the first time since 9/11 (is) excited about the future." He described employees as "optimistic" and "positive" as a result of the merger and said "the level of energy is contagious."

American and US Airways began their merger in December under a management team, led by CEO Doug Parker and Kirby, which came from US Airways.

Among the positive operational indicators at legacy American: The carrier had a mainline completion factor of 99.7%, its highest monthly completion factor ever. It had nine days in April with zero cancellations, and seven days in a row with zero maintenance cancellations.

Also, mainline on-time departures, measured by D-zero, which is departing exactly on time or earlier, was at 69.4% of flights, the best April since 2005. Overall on-time departures, measured by D-zero, were at 70.3%, up 8.6 points from the same month a year earlier. Kirby said D-zero is the most important measure of on-time performance, noting: "The key is getting the airplane off the gate on time."

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