Airlines in the United States Profitable for the Third Straight Year

The 10 US passenger airlines to have reported 2012 results earned a collective net profit of $152 million for the year, according to Airlines for America (A4A) according to Air Transport World.

US Airways[/caption]Airlines 4 America (A4A) Chief Economist John Heimlich said 2012 revenue was up 4.5%, while expenses rose 4.7%, including a 5.9% jump in fuel costs. The average price per gallon of jet fuel paid by the 10 airlines in 2012 was $3.06, up 2% over $3.00 in 2011, and an all-time high.

Heimlich said US airlines “are taking an approach that assumes the worst case and not the best case” in terms of fuel prices. He added that carriers are “focused on reducing their fixed costs” so they can “scale up or scale down capacity” as needed to deal with fuel costs. He declined to identify a price point at which fuel costs would send US airlines back into the red.

Heimlich maintained that US carriers are “setting up a foundation for a structurally more healthy industry” and said results could be expected to continue to improve since one-time costs associated with the industry’s various mergers will recede.