AMR Profits First Time in Nearly 2 Years : Travel: Higher air fares resulted in a $47-million second-quarter gain, but the parent of American Airlines calls it a small improvement.

From Associated Press

American Airlines parent AMR Corp. on Wednesday reported its first profit in nearly two years, earning $47 million for the second quarter on higher ticket prices.

But company officials downplayed the results.

"We're very happy that the trend is positive and not negative. Nevertheless, $47 million worth of earnings on a capital base of $20 billion is really not something you want to stand up and dance about," AMR Chief Financial Officer Michael Durham said.

For the three months ended June 30, Ft. Worth-based AMR Corp.'s profit came to 39 cents a share. That contrasts with a loss of $183 million, or $2.43 a share, during the same period of 1992. Revenue for the April-June quarter was $4.21 billion, up more than 17% from $3.59 billion in the second quarter of last year.

The latest quarter includes a $79-million charge to retire 31 DC-10 aircraft and an adjustment to passenger revenues that raised earnings by $67 million. Without those onetime items, AMR said, its profit for the period would have been $59 million, or 55 cents a share.

A month ago, American warned it was attracting fewer fliers than expected and would report disappointing earnings. Analysts reduced their estimated per-share earnings from about 70 cents to about 20 or 30 cents.

American's yield, the average amount a passenger pays to fly one mile, grew nearly 11%, from 12.43 cents in the second quarter of 1992 to 13.77 cents for this year's second quarter.

For the first six months of this year, AMR earned $25 million but lost 3 cents a share after paying preferred dividends.

In the same period last year, the company lost $635 million, or $8.54 a share. Revenue for the first half rose to $8.03 billion from $7.09 billion.

AMR's stock closed at $65.50 on the New York Stock Exchange, up $2.125.

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