Air Transport World

A year later, the bleeding continues: most US airlines lose money in the third quarter. (Finance).

The 10 US Major airlines collectively lost $2.57 billion in the third quarter ended Sept. 30, a somewhat worse result than the loss of $2.43 billion recorded in the year-ago period that included 9/11 and the subsequent shutdown of US airspace. Comparisons are distorted, of course, by the continuing impact of 9/11 as well as the government bailout that took place primarily during the third and fourth quarters of 2001.

By far the largest losses were registered by American Airlines and United Airlines, which together accounted for more than $2 of every $3 lost by the industry as a whole. Two carriers, Southwest Airlines and Alaska Airlines, managed to stay in the black for the quarter and two others, Northwest Airlines and Continental Airlines, came close to breaking even. Industry revenues fell 4% year-over-year; only Alaska, America West, Delta and Southwest showed revenue growth far the period.

A disaster is the only way to characterize AMR Corp.'s third-quarter financial performance. The parent of American and AMR Eagle posted a net loss of $924 million compared to a deficit of $414 million in the year ago period. Excluding special items, AMR's three-month loss totaled $475 million, a $50 million improvement over a $525 million net loss in the third quarter of 200l. "Any way you look at them, these are terrible financial results that reflect a sluggish economy, continued weakness in the revenue environment, high fuel prices, the cost of enhanced security and the uncertainty of events in the Middle East," said AMR Corp. Chairman and CEO Don Catty, who warned that the company's fourth-quarter loss excluding special items likely will be even worse. …

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