* Revenue would have been higher if not for flight troubles
* Operations showing improvement, exec says
* Qatar to join oneworld global alliance
Oct 8 American Airlines said unit revenue, a
widely watched measure of pricing power, rose 4 percent in
September and would have been higher if not for flight delays
Although the number of passengers boarded fell 3.9 percent
on American and its regional carrier affiliates last month,
passenger revenue per available seat mile, or unit revenue, rose
4 percent from a year earlier, the airline reported on Monday.
Excluding the impact of halted and delayed flights in the
second half of September, the improvement in unit revenue would
have been 4.4 percent, according to the unit of AMR Corp
, which filed for Chapter 11 protection last November.
In recent weeks, American has canceled hundreds of flights,
citing increased pilot maintenance reports and sick leave usage.
The airline is currently negotiating a labor contract with the
Allied Pilots Association, but the union says it has called no
work action at the carrier.
Three separate incidents recently, in which seats came
unbolted from the floor on American flights, have also raised
concerns about the airline. American Airlines moved to reinforce
seat locks on 48 Boeing 757 jets following those incidents.
Virasb Vahidi, American chief commercial officer, said the
carrier's operations have improved "quite a bit" over the last
week but there is room for more improvement.
"We are not where we would like to be. We are not operating
at the same level as we either like to or we have done
historically," Vahidi added. "But we have been seeing some
improvement in our operations."
Traffic at American Airlines, measured by revenue passenger
miles, fell 2.8 percent overall in September. U.S. traffic, hurt
by the cancellations, fell 7.1 percent, while international
traffic rose 3.2 percent.
The airline's capacity, as measured by available seat miles,
was down 3.4 percent in September. Load factor, or the
percentage of seats filled, rose to 81.1 percent from 80.7
percent a year earlier.
Vahidi said September revenue was aided by American's joint
business agreement with British Airways and Iberia, whose parent
is International Airlines Group, in the Atlantic region
and Japan Airlines in the Pacific. He also said Latin
American business, where September traffic rose 6.1 percent,
continues to grow.
American Airlines said its unit revenue growth has
outperformed other major U.S. airlines for the past six months
as it restructures in bankruptcy.
For example, Delta Air Lines Inc said its unit
revenue rose 0.5 percent in September, while Southwest Airlines
Co estimated a fall of 2 percent to 3 percent and US
Airways Group Inc reported flat unit revenue.
Separately on Monday, Qatar Airways of the Middle East said
it would join the oneworld airline alliance of which American is
a founding member. Alliances were set up in the 1990s to help
airlines take advantage of each others' marketing and traffic in
the face of tightly controlled bilateral traffic rights.