expects to increase capacity 3-4% in 2014, roughly the same rate as this year, but without any change to its fleet count.
The growth plan maintains US Airways’ previous capacity strategy by upgauging older aircraft with largerand and, according to statements made by Chairman and CEO Doug Parker during the airline’s third-quarter earnings call, will continue to focus on increasing the airline’s presence in profitable markets.
This strategy, President Scott Kirby noted during the call, has produced record operating margins in all three quarters of 2013, and he believes it will continue to produce solid results. The third quarter, for instance, produced a record pre-tax profit of $367 million, almost double the same period last year if special items are excluded.
The 4.9% increase in third-quarter capacity to 20.5 billion available seat-miles generated a 5.6% rise in traffic, to 17.8 billion revenue passenger miles. That growth, in turn, produced a 12.2% year-on-year increase in passenger revenue to $2.6 billion, and a 9.1% improvement in total revenue to $3.9 billion.
Costs, meanwhile—aided by a relatively stable fuel price—increased 5% to $3.4 billion, while operating income improved almost 60% to $428 million. Net income, however, fell about 12% to $216 million, mainly due to a $119 million difference in income tax provisions.
None of US Airways’ management would discuss the pending litigation with the U.S. Justice Department on the airline’s proposed merger with AMR Corp.