American Airlines (AAL) 2Q 2023 earnings

Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, from American Airlines company, taking off from Barcelona airport, in Barcelona on 24th February 2023. 

JanValls | Nurphoto | Getty Images

American Airlines on Thursday raised its earnings outlook for 2023 after a strong start to the peak travel season, the latest airline to reap the rewards from the continued boom in demand.

The Fort Worth, Texas-based carrier expects to earn between $3 and $3.75 a share for the full year, adjusting for one-time items, up from a forecast in May to earn about $2.50 to $3.50. That updated 2023 profit guidance falls in line with Wall Street expectations of $3.10, according to Refinitiv consensus estimates.

American shares were down more than 5% in morning trading.

Airline executives have been upbeat about travel demand, particularly for international trips. Some airfares have declined compared with last year, when airlines struggled to rebuild their schedules after the worst of the Covid pandemic, leaving travelers with fewer flights and seats to choose from.

American said Thursday that it expects unit revenues to drop as much as 6.5% in the third quarter from a year earlier with capacity growth of up to 7% from the same period of 2022. For the third quarter, American expects to earn an adjusted 85 cents to 95 cents per share, in line with estimates.

The company’s forecasts include costs from labor deals, like a tentative agreement with its pilots. However, American’s pilots union are seeking improvements to its tentative contract following a deal struck but rival United and its pilots’ union last week.

“In regard to wages, we’re going to match those,” American’s CEO, Robert Isom, told CNBC’s Phil LeBeau on Thursday. “I want our pilots to know that.”

Here’s how American Airlines performed in the second quarter compared with what Wall Street anticipated, based on an average of analysts’ estimates compiled by Refinitiv:

  • Adjusted earnings per share: $1.92 vs. $1.59 expected
  • Total revenue: $14.06 billion vs. expected $13.74 billion

American reported net income in the second quarter of $1.34 billion, or $1.88 a share, up from $476 million, or 68 cents a share in the same period a year earlier. Adjusting for one-time items, including costs associated with planes retired early in the pandemic, the company earned $1.37 billion, or $1.92 per share.

Record revenue of $14.06 billion topped analysts’ expectations and was up 4.7% from a year earlier.

The airline’s flying capacity was up 5.3% from a year ago.

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