US Airways lost $114M in 1Q on bigger fuel bill

AP News
Posted: Apr 26, 2011 1:43 PM
US Airways lost $114M in 1Q on bigger fuel bill

US Airways said Tuesday that its first-quarter loss more than doubled to $114 million as fuel prices rose sharply. The airline will reduce flying in the second half of the year to cut costs and keep its planes full.

Fuel costs jumped by $272 million, up almost 39 percent from a year earlier. US Airways is the only U.S. airline that does not hedge against fuel price spikes. It said its fuel bill for the year was on track to be $1.45 billion more than last year.

The airline has been raising fares to cover higher fuel prices. The demand is there _ traffic rose 4 percent from the same period last year. Those two things helped push revenue up 11.7 percent to $2.96 billion.

On Tuesday, US Airways said that it will reduce capacity by a half-percent in the third quarter, and by 2 percent in the fourth quarter. Full-year capacity will be up because of more flying in the first half of the year. Cutting capacity leaves fewer available seats. That helps airlines to fill planes and keep fares up.

US Airways' first-quarter loss amounted to 71 cents per share. It would have been 68 cents per share if not for special items. Analysts surveyed by FactSet expected a slightly larger loss of 73 cents per share on revenue of $2.94 billion.

A year ago, the airline lost $45 million, or 28 cents per share. Not counting fuel, its costs for each seat flown one mile fell by 1.3 percent.

US Airways Group Inc., based in Tempe, Ariz., is the nation's fifth-largest airline. Its shares rose 45 cents, or 5.4 percent, to $8.73 in afternoon trading.