American Airlines' profit surges on lower fuel costs but revenue slips

American Airlines reports sharply higher first-quarter earnings

American Airlines' parent said Friday that the steep drop in fuel costs helped its first-quarter profit nearly double from a year earlier.

But American Airlines Group Inc. said its revenue slipped 1.7% to $9.83 billion due to increasing competition, the strong U.S. dollar and economic softness in Latin America.

The nation's largest carrier joined other airlines, including United Continental Holdings Inc. and Southwest Airlines Co., in posting sharply higher first-quarter earnings with the help of lower fuel expenses.

American, with 577 aircraft in its fleet, said fuel costs in the three months ended March 31 tumbled 43% from a year earlier to $1.54 billion.

The Fort Worth, Texas-based airline is continuing to consolidate its operations with those of US Airways, which merged with American in late 2013.

American said first-quarter profit soared to $932 million from $480 million a year earlier.

Excluding special items totaling $311 million, including costs related to the merger, American's earnings equaled $1.73 a share. That bested the $1.70-a-share estimate of analysts polled by Factset Research.

After the results were announced, American's stock jumped 73 cents to $52.18 a share in early trading Friday.



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