US Airways reported a $44 million profit for the first quarter as it grew revenues by 3.5 percent to $3.38 billion.The Tempe-based carrier said it had record passenger load factors in the quarter and strong demand for air travel. Its unit revenues rose 2.2 percent compared to first quarter of 2012."These outstanding results are the product of their efforts and provide a solid foundation as we plan for combining with American Airlines," said US Airways chief executive Doug Parker. "Looking forward, our integration planning work with American is going well and we continue to expect that the merger will close in the third quarter of this year."Excluding one-time items, US Airways said its profit was $55 million, or 31 cents per share, beating Wall Street analysts' expectations of 27 cents per share. As of 9:30 a.m., shares of US Airways were up almost 5 percent to $16.25.Earlier in the quarter, US Airways announced it will merge with AMR Corp., creating the largest airline in the U.S.The airline ended the quarter with $2.65 billion in cash and investments, not including $352 million in restricted cash.US Airways executives will discuss the carrier's earnings on an 11:30 a.m. CDT conference call with analysts.