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American Airlines Eyes First Profit-Sharing in 13 Years

Tickers in this article: AAMRQ LCC

DALLAS (TheStreet) -- American Airlines still wants a merger with US Airways , but the carrier is doing fine on its own -- to the point that it foresees its first profit-sharing distribution in 13 years.

American said Thursday that the third quarter was the most profitable quarter in its history, producing a net profit of $530 million, excluding one-time reorganization costs related to its ongoing bankruptcy. Revenue rose 6.2% to $6.8 billion, the highest quarterly revenue in American's history. Including items, the net profit was $289 million, compared with a loss of $238 million in the same period a year earlier.

"Continued execution on our product, network and alliance strategy, combined with cost efficiencies from restructuring and fleet renewal, creates strong momentum towards our planned merger with US Airways," said CEO Tom Horton, in a prepared statement.

Horton said American has set aside $59 million this quarter "in expectation of making our first profit-sharing payout since 2001 to our people who have done so much to put American back on top." So far, American has accrued $65 million for profit sharing this year.

During the quarter, consolidated passenger revenue per available seat mile rose 3.4% to an all-time record of 13.79 cents per available seat mile. Mainline PRASM rose 4%. On the cost side, excluding fuel and special items, cost per available seat mile declined by 5.4%. American's pretax margin, excluding reorganization and special items, was 7.8%.

During the quarter, American took delivery of 19 new Airbus and Boeing aircraft. On Wednesday, it announced plans for new service from Dallas-Fort Worth, its largest hub, to Hong Kong and Shanghai.

In its earnings release on Thursday, the company said: "American and US Airways Group are vigorously defending the lawsuit filed by the Department of Justice seeking to enjoin their planned merger, and continue to move forward with developing a merger integration plan."

-- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Ted Reed