Delta, United and US Airways Report Profitable 3rd Quarter

United Continental Holdings and US Airways Group on Thursday said their quarterly profits were hurt by rising fuel costs, but travel demand remains strong.

The third-quarter results conclude the earnings season on a mostly positive note for major U.S. airlines and reflect a newfound ability to manage capacity, one analyst said.

The airline industry continues to be profitable after a ten year downturn that sent several carriers into bankruptcy. But even as soaring fuel costs and economic uncertainty threaten to disrupt the recovery, carriers have managed the plight effectively by cutting the number of seats they sell when times get rough.
“Looking forward, we see continued strong demand in the fourth quarter,” US Airways Chief Executive Doug Parker said in a statement.

The sentiments echo those voiced recently by Delta Air Lines and Southwest Airlines.
United Continental, formed last year from a merger of UAL Corp and United Airlines, reported revenue of $10.2 billion, up 8.7 percent from a year ago.

US Airways reported a quarterly net profit, hit by a 44 percent increase in its fuel costs. The carrier said its third-quarter profit was $76 million, compared with $240 million a year before.

US Airways said its revenue was $3.4 billion, up 8.1 percent from a year earlier.

Delta Air Lines reported net income for the September 2011 quarter was $765 million.