Shares of American Airlines Group dropped almost 5 percent on Monday after the carrier revised its fourth-quarter financial estimates.
In a government filing, Fort Worth-based American said it expects unit revenues for the quarter to be in a range from flat to down 2 percent.
The airline also said that passenger traffic dropped 0.4 percent in December and that planes were not as full, with the load factor off 3.4 percentage points in the holiday travel month.
J.P. Morgan analyst Jamie Baker told investors he believes that the airline “may have slightly overflown its schedule, given largely benign meteorological trends throughout the quarter.”
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Unlike last December, when American canceled hundreds of flights out of its hub at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport because of several days of ice, this winter has been relatively mild. As a result, American’s network capacity was 3.7 percent higher in December compared to the same month last year.
American shares (ticker: AAL) closed at $49.58, down $2.44, or 4.6 percent on Monday.
Capacity for the full year was up 2.2 percent as American added aircraft and used some larger planes, the company said. American added 82 new airplanes to its mainline fleet in 2014 while retiring 69 aircraft. It also added 50 new aircraft to its regional partners while retiring 42 smaller planes.
The company said it ended the year with $8.1 billion in total cash and investments, including $774 million in restricted cash.
Helane Becker, an analyst with Cowen and Co., said the reduced quarterly unit revenues are likely due to weakness in international travel, particularly to Europe.
“We expect American to continue to rationalize capacity in the international division given the weakness,” Becker wrote in a research note on Monday.
Separately, American said its pilots will get higher pay rates retroactive to Dec. 2 if they vote to approve a new contract. Voting on the proposal, which includes 23 percent raises but does not include work rule changes and a profit-sharing plan, is scheduled to close on Jan. 30.
The company earlier had said there would be no retroactive pay if the contract wasn’t approved by Jan. 19.
“The objective of the January 19 deadline was not to rush you,” American President Scott Kirby said in a letter sent to pilots late Sunday. “The objective was to force the APA Board to act and provide our pilots the opportunity to vote on a proposal that would improve their compensation and benefits.”
Andrea Ahles, 817-390-7631