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American Airlines reports profit despite jet fuel cost drag

By AFP - Jul 22,2022 - Last updated at Jul 22,2022

NEW YORK — American Airlines reported a profitable second quarter on Thursday as the ebbing of the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in record revenues despite higher fuel costs. 

The big US carrier said its first profitable quarter since the start of the pandemic was due to operations rather than government support programmes.

Profits were $476 million compared with just $19 million in the year-ago period.

Revenues jumped about 80 per cent to $13.4 billion, the most in the company's history. Jet fuel costs were more than double the level from the 2021 period.

Pricey tickets have fueled the surge. From April through June, revenues topped those of the pre-pandemic 2019 quarter by 12 per cent, even though capacity was 8.5 per cent lower.

American signaled that the trend was holding in the third quarter, when it expects revenues of 10-12 per cent above the 2019 level, with capacity down 8-10 per cent.

Leisure travel remains above pre-pandemic levels, while American also saw improvements in both business travel and international bookings, Chief Executive Officer Robert Isom said in a letter to employees.

"Making sure American could take advantage of the continued recovery has been our collective focus, and the second quarter is evidence that our actions are producing positive results," Isom said. 

"There is no better validation of this than reporting our first quarterly profit since the start of the pandemic."

Shares fell 3.2 per cent to $14.73 in pre-market trading.

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