The world's largest airline company reported a record profit in the third quarter, thanks mostly to a steep drop in fuel costs and continued growth in demand.
American Airlines Group on Friday reported $1.7 billion in net income, or $2.49 per share, an 80% increase over the same period last year. Not counting special charges, the airline company earned $1.9 billion, a record profit for any quarter for the company.
That's the second quarter in a row that the Fort Worth-based carrier set a new profit record. During the second quarter, American also reported a record $1.9 billion in earnings, a 27% increase over the same quarter in 2014.
The carrier's record profits were achieved primarily because the airline's biggest expense -- fuel -- has dropped significantly. In the latest quarter, fuel costs dropped 43.5% compared with the same period last year. At the same time, total passenger trips increased 3.7%, while the rate of filled seats per plane rose to 86%, up from 84% a year earlier.
Higher third-quarter profit came despite a 3.9% decline in revenue, to $10.7 billion, in the July-to-September period, due partly to a drop in airfares.
The glowing earnings report comes a week after American finished merging its reservation system with US Airways, a key step to create the world's largest airline with a fleet of nearly 1,000 planes.
Other major airlines have reported soaring profits over the last two weeks, helped by cheaper fuel costs.
Southwest Airlines reported record earnings of $623 million, or 94 cents per share; United Airlines reported record earnings of $1.7 billion, or $4.53 per share; and Delta Airlines reported a profit of $1.4 billion, or $1.74 per share.
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