US Airways' financial results, compared with American Airlines' recent track record, provides ammunition for those arguing that Parker and company should be the management team running the show if a merger takes place.
In fact, CEO Doug Parker mused: ”We enter 2013 with great momentum and enthusiasm and are well-positioned for whatever may lie ahead.”
The airline record fourth quarter profit of $37 million, compared with $18 million a year earlier, on nearly $3.3 billion in revenue, a 3.9% jump.
The full-year numbers told an even more dramatic story. Full-year 2012 net profits came in at $637 million, a 797% leap over the 2011 mark. Full-year 2012 revenue rose 5.9% to $13.8 billion.
“Our team members produced the best operating reliability performance in our history, which is no easy feat since US Airways led all network carriers in on-time performance from 2008-2011,” Parker said. “But in 2012, we did even better with record highs in on-time performance, completion factor and baggage handling. This helped lead to our best ever annual results in total revenue, total traffic, mainline load factor, mainline yield and mainline revenue.”
US Airways explained that “a strong demand environment and record passenger yields” drove its increased revenue numbers.
Belt-tightening — or “strong cost discipline,” as US Airways phrased it — along with strong operating and revenue numbers contributed to the record net income marks.
US Airways has a profit-sharing plan for employees, and its financial performance led to $61 million in profit-sharing for 2012, and another $19 million in incentive payouts through November, the airline said. The profit-sharing payouts amounted to a 408% increase over 2011.
As a suitor, it always pays to be polite.
Update: In a conference call with analysts and media representatives, Scott Kirby, US Airways president, said USAirways.com has been taking share from online travel agencies and is the “preferred destination” for the airline’s frequent flyers and “best customers.”
Kirby noted that USAirways.com offers the airline’s Choice Seats, which are window and aisle seats near the front of coach, and “OTAs haven’t invested in technology to sell that.”
He said US Airways would like the OTAs to sell Choice Seats, adding, “eventually it is going to happen.”
In other developments, US Airways CEO Doug Parker lamented the fact that the federal government has no coherent national aviation policy, and matters such as tax policies need to be reformed.
“We are fighting our government on a lot of issues,” Parker said. “Other international carriers don’t fight the same battles we do.”
Officials declined to discuss speculation about a merger with American Airlines.