US Airways posts higher quarterly profit

Wed Jan 23, 2013 8:48am EST

(Reuters) - US Airways Group Inc LCC.N on Wednesday said fourth quarter profit more than doubled as higher revenue offset cost increases.

The carrier, which has been in talks with bankrupt AMR Corp's (AAMRQ.PK) American Airlines for months on a potential merger, said improved on-time arrivals and baggage handling helped drive traffic and revenue.

Net income came to $37 million, or 22 cents a share, for the fourth quarter, compared with $18 million, or 11 cents a share, a year earlier.

Excluding one-time items, profit was 26 cents a share, compared with 19 cents expected by analysts on average, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The carrier said Superstorm Sandy, which barreled through the U.S. Northeast in late October and hobbled operations at major New York area airports, hurt results by about $35 million.

Revenue rose 3.9 percent to $3.28 billion. Passenger revenue per available seat mile, a measure of pricing power and how full planes are, rose 2.2 percent in the quarter.

Operating expenses rose 3.5 percent, with fuel and related taxes up 2.1 percent. Costs tied to salaries rose about 10 percent.

(Reporting by Karen Jacobs; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick and Grant McCool)