US Airways on Wednesday
reported a quarterly net income of $240 million, the highest third-quarter
profit in the carrier's history. While US Airways pointed to the usual culprits
of a strong quarter, from capacity discipline and demand growth to a better
airline pricing environment, president Doug Parker characterized the carrier's
earnings not as just another quarterly profit, but as a "watershed
"Frankly, we believe this
quarter's results are a watershed event, not just for US Airways but for the
U.S. airline industry," Parker said, noting "oil at over $80 a barrel,
an economy that's slowly and begrudgingly pulling out of a recession, yet the
airline industry is the industry reporting record or near-record profits, while
the rest of U.S. industry is not. That hadn't happened before, and we believe
it's concrete evidence that a fundamental restructuring really has taken place.
Consolidation has happened. New pricing models have been put in place that make
more sense for generating high returns. We have management teams that are focused
on returns instead of marketshare. The result is we are producing record
results at a soft spot in the business cycle."
Positive business travel
trends helped lift the carrier's earnings. US Airways reported that booked corporate
revenue was up 23 percent year over year and up 1 percent over 2008,
outperforming passenger revenue growth as a whole, which was up 15 percent year
improving corporate revenues, our business-oriented markets significantly
outperformed leisure markets," said US Airways president Scott Kirby.
"For example, shuttle [revenue per available seat mile] was up 21 percent,
despite adding incremental competitive capacity during the quarter."
US Airways said it also got
a lift on the transatlantic, where it claimed to outperform the industry in
revenue and where it has gained more corporate business, according to Kirby.
"We have much more corporate demand," Kirby said. "We've
actually made a real push to get more corporate business, and that includes a
lot of initiatives in Europe."
On revenue and demand
trends, US Airways management said they expect a continuation, not acceleration
or deceleration, of trends reported for the third quarter for the remainder of