AMR's fourth-quarter loss triples, to $387 million

Wednesday, January 19th 2005, 10:49 am
By: News On 6

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) _ The parent company of American Airlines posted a much wider loss for the fourth quarter, as higher fuel costs and lower fares took a toll on the nation's largest carrier.

AMR Corp. said Wednesday it lost $387 million or $2.40 per share in the October-December period, compared to a loss of $111 million or 70 cents per share a year earlier.

The fourth-quarter results included one-time gains of $86 million, or 54 cents per share, mostly due to profit on the sale of American's interest in online travel service Orbitz.

Without the net gain, the company would have lost $2.94 per share, still less than the $3.18 per share loss forecast by analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call.

Chairman and chief executive Gerard Arpey called the fourth quarter ``a disappointing end to a very difficult year.''

``AMR's results for the fourth quarter of 2004 reflect the economic woes that plagued the airline industry throughout 2004 _ in particular, high fuel prices and a tough revenue environment,'' Arpey said.

Arpey said AMR expects to post more losses in the January-March period, which he said meant that the carrier must continue to focus on cutting costs and raising revenue.

American said it would defer delivery of 54 of 56 jets from Boeing Co, postponing $1.4 billion in spending that had been planned for 2005 through 2007. American also plans to drop 15 jets from its fleet and cancel delivery of 18 smaller, regional jets for its American Eagle affiliate.

AMR's revenue rose 3.4 percent, to $4.54 billion from $4.39 billion a year ago, but expenses jumped 6 percent.

Fort Worth-based AMR estimated that it spent $477 million more on fuel than it would have if fuel prices had remained at 2003 levels.

For all of 2004, AMR said it lost $761 million or $4.74 per share, compared to a loss of $1.23 billion or $7.76 per share in 2003.