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American Airlines posts $1.7 billion profit for the third quarter

American Airlines reported a $1.7 billion profit for the third quarter. (Star-Telegram/Rodger Mallison)
American Airlines reported a $1.7 billion profit for the third quarter. (Star-Telegram/Rodger Mallison) Star-Telegram

American Airlines reported a $1.7 billion profit for the third quarter, boosted by lower fuel prices.

The Fort Worth-based carrier said it paid $1.2 billion less for jet fuel in the quarter, compared to the third quarter of 2014, a drop of 43.7 percent. The company expects to save $5 billion on jet fuel in 2015.

However, revenues at the airline decreased almost 4 percent to $10.7 billion even though the airline carried more passengers and had fuller planes with a load factor of 85.6 percent.

Excluding one-time accounting items, American said its net income was a record $1.9 billion, or $2.77 per share, beating Wall Street analysts’ estimates of $2.72 per share, according to FactSet Research.

“We are extremely pleased to report another quarter of record profits thanks to the outstanding work of the American Airlines team,” said American chief executive Doug Parker in a statement. He also congratulated employees for combining American and US Airways’ reservations systems last week without an operational disruption. “Because of our great work, our customers now have seamless access to the full network of the new American Airlines.”

The company told investors that it repurchased $1.56 billion of stock in the third quarter and its board authorized another $2.0 billion share repurchase plan to be completed by the end of 2016.

American executives will discuss the earnings results on a conference call with investors on Friday morning at 7:30 a.m.

The company also received 16 new mainline and 15 new regional airplanes and retired 36 mainline and 9 regional airplanes during the quarter as it continues to modernize its fleet.

On Thursday, American announced it will build a new headquarters complex in Fort Worth, about one mile west from its current location. The cost of the project, which will be completed in mid-2018, was not disclosed.

In a letter sent to employees Friday morning, Parker said even though the airline has hit several integration milestones this year in its merger with US Airways, there is more to do.

“Achieving single contracts for all of our team members and moving to a single Flight Operating System are just a few of the tasks we’ll accomplish in the future,” Parker wrote. “With the hard work and preparation you’ve shown this year, we are ready for the road ahead.”

Andrea Ahles: 817-390-7631, @Sky_Talk

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