AMR Corporation Reports Fourth Quarter 2009 Net Loss of $344 Million, Compared to a Loss of $347 Million in Fourth Quarter 2008

 
   

In Spite Of Difficult Economic And Industry Conditions In 2009, Company Took Many Positive Steps To Manage Through Near-Term Challenges And Position Itself For Long-Term Success

Company Reports Full-Year 2009 Net Loss of $1.5 Billion, Compared to a Loss of $2.1 Billion for 2008

Excluding Special Items and a Non-Cash Tax Item, Fourth Quarter 2009 Loss was $415 Million, while Full-Year 2009 Loss was $1.4 Billion

AMR Corporation, the parent company of American Airlines, Inc., today reported a net loss of $344 million, or $1.03 per share, for the fourth quarter of 2009.

The fourth quarter 2009 results include the negative impact of $177 million in non-cash special items, which consists primarily of impairment charges of approximately $96 million to write down certain route and slot authorities mainly in Latin America; $42 million to write down certain Embraer RJ-135 aircraft to their estimated fair values; and $20 million associated with the retirement of the Airbus A300 fleet. Also included is the positive impact of a non-cash tax item of approximately $248 million primarily related to hedging gains within Other Comprehensive Income during 2009. Excluding these special items and the non-cash tax item, the Company lost $415 million, or $1.25 per share, in  the quarter.

The results for the fourth quarter of 2009 compare to a loss of $347 million, or $1.24 per share, for the fourth quarter of 2008.

The fourth quarter 2008 results included a $23 million charge for aircraft groundings, facility write-offs and severance related to capacity reductions, and a $103 million non-cash pension settlement charge driven by a large number of early pilot retirements. Excluding those special items, the Company lost $221 million, or $0.79 per share, in the fourth quarter of 2008.

For all of 2009, AMR recorded a net loss of $1.5 billion, or $4.99 per share, compared to a loss of $2.1 billion, or $8.16 per share, for 2008. Excluding special items and the non-cash tax item, the Company lost $1.4 billion, or $4.63 per share, for all of 2009, compared to a loss of $1.2 billion, or $4.76 per share, in 2008.

"In 2009, our company once again proved its resiliency and ability to battle through challenges while continuing to work toward a successful future," said AMR Chairman and CEO Gerard Arpey. "The fuel crisis of 2008 was replaced by the worst recession in decades, which hurt travel demand severely, and tight capital markets. Yet, we took steps to address those challenges by bolstering our liquidity and financial flexibility and remaining disciplined with capacity. At the same time, we strengthened our global network, reinvested in our fleet and products, and made strides to improve our dependability and our customers’ experience.

"I want to thank our employees for their efforts during such challenging times. We are hopeful that better times lay ahead, and we are intensely focused on returning to profitability and executing on our FlightPlan 2020 to position us for long-term success."

Arpey added that American expects to receive U.S. regulatory approval, in the near future, of its antitrust immunity application with fellow oneworld® members British Airways, Iberia, Finnair, and Royal Jordanian. This approval will pave the way for American, British Airways, and Iberia to launch a joint business relationship on flights between North America and Europe. Additionally, the companies continue to demonstrate the public benefits of their plans to regulators in the European Union.

Financial and Operational Performance (Excluding Impact of Special Items and Non-Cash Tax Item)

AMR reported fourth quarter consolidated revenues of approximately $5.1 billion, a decrease of 7.4 percent year over year, largely driven by reduced capacity and the reduced demand for air travel and cargo resulting from the global economic downturn.

While the revenue and demand environment has remained challenging, the Company’s year-over-year declines in consolidated revenue, cargo revenue and mainline passenger unit revenue have narrowed sequentially in the third and fourth quarters.

Other revenues, from sources such as confirmed flight changes, purchased upgrades, Buy-on-Board food services, and baggage service charges, grew 6.8 percent to $582 million in the fourth quarter, compared to the fourth quarter of 2008. Even with the drop off in demand and traffic throughout the year, for all of 2009 other revenue increased 5.4 percent to $2.3 billion compared to 2008.

The Company’s cargo revenue declined by 16.4 percent to $164 million in the fourth quarter compared to the same period in 2008.

American’s mainline passenger revenue per available seat mile (unit revenue) declined by 4.3 percent in the fourth quarter compared to the year-ago quarter.

While the Company’s fourth quarter unit revenue performance continues to reflect the effects of a challenging economy, the Company believes the strength of its network and its efforts to drive a revenue premium helped its mainline unit revenue performance outpace that of most of its legacy network competitors in 2009.

Mainline capacity, or total available seat miles, in the fourth quarter decreased by 4.9 percent compared to the same period in 2008, as the Company continued to exercise capacity discipline given the still-challenging demand environment.

American’s mainline load factor – or the percentage of total seats filled – was a record 81.1 percent during the fourth quarter, compared to 78.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008. American’s fourth quarter yield, which represents average fares paid, decreased by 7.6 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2008. The decrease in yield was largely due to more aggressive pricing industry-wide and reduced traffic in the premium cabins.

American’s mainline cost per available seat mile (unit cost) in the fourth quarter was essentially flat year over year, in part due to lower fuel prices. Taking into account the impact of fuel hedging, AMR paid $2.17 per gallon for jet fuel in the fourth quarter versus $2.60 a gallon in the fourth quarter of 2008, a 16.4 percent decrease. As a result, the Company paid $287 million less for fuel in the fourth quarter of 2009 than it would have paid at prevailing prices from the prior-year period.

Excluding fuel, mainline unit costs in the fourth quarter of 2009 increased by 8.3 percent year over year, driven by reduced capacity, higher pension expenses, higher materials and repairs expenses, and investments in dependability initiatives.

An unaudited summary of full-year 2009 results is available in the tables at the back of this press release.

Balance Sheet Update

AMR ended the fourth quarter with approximately $4.9 billion in cash and short-term investments, including a restricted balance of $460 million, compared to a balance of $3.6 billion in cash and short-term investments, including a restricted balance of $459 million, at the end of the fourth quarter of 2008. In the third and fourth quarters of 2009, the Company closed approximately $5 billion in financing transactions to bolster liquidity, finance the delivery of new Boeing 737-800 aircraft and refinance existing debt maturities.

AMR’s Total Debt, which it defines as the aggregate of its long-term debt, capital lease obligations, the principal amount of airport facility tax-exempt bonds, and the present value of aircraft operating lease obligations, was $16.1 billion at the end of the fourth quarter of 2009, compared to $15.1 billion a year earlier.

AMR’s Net Debt, which it defines as Total Debt less unrestricted cash and short-term investments, was $11.7 billion at the end of the fourth quarter, compared to $12.0 billion in the fourth quarter of 2008.

Fourth Quarter 2009 Highlights

  • For the fourth consecutive year, the readers of Global Traveler magazine bestowed the honor of "Best Domestic First Class Airline" upon American Airlines. Global Traveler’s annual GT Tested Awards program surveyed more than 25,000 business and leisure travelers to determine the best in business and luxury travel for 2009.
  • American Airlines was also recognized by the readers of Business Traveler magazine as a leader in domestic travel. The airline was named "Best North American Airline for First-Class Service" and "Best Airline for North American Travel" by Business Traveler’s 2009 Best in Business Travel Survey. Along with these awards, American also ranked second in the "Best North American Airline for International Travel" and "Best Inflight Services in North America" categories.
  • In November, Mexicana, the leading airline in Mexico and Latin America, became part of the oneworld Alliance. Mexicana and its subsidiaries, MexicanaClick and MexicanaLink, offer the alliance’s full range of services and benefits. They extend the oneworld network to almost 700 destinations in nearly 150 countries, with a combined fleet of some 2,250 aircraft operating more than 8,000 flights a day, carrying 325 million passengers a year, with annual revenues of $100 billion.
  • Also in November, American Eagle began nonstop jet service from Miami International Airport (MIA) to Charleston, S.C., and Knoxville, Tenn., as well as to Eleuthera, Treasure Cay, and Governor’s Harbour in the Bahamas. American Eagle also began daily nonstop service to Santa Fe, N.M., from Los Angeles.
  • The American Airlines brand served as the backdrop for the highly-acclaimed Paramount Pictures film, "Up in the Air," released in theatres in December. The film, directed by Jason Reitman, the Oscar®-nominated director of "Juno," is a dramatic comedy starring Oscar® winner George Clooney. American and its employees also played a key role in the movie’s production. There was no AA financial investment in the film. The partnership with "Up in the Air" allowed American to provide access to airports, terminals and branded materials that gave a sense of realism to the project.

Guidance

Mainline and Consolidated Capacity

AMR expects its full-year mainline capacity to increase by 0.9 percent in 2010 compared to 2009, with domestic capacity down 0.5 percent and an increase of international capacity of 3.2 percent compared to 2009 levels. On a consolidated basis, AMR expects full-year capacity to increase by 1.3 percent in 2010 compared to 2009.

The Company’s 2010 capacity levels include the reinstatement of flying that was canceled in 2009 due to the H1N1 virus and the launch of Chicago-Beijing service, which was deferred from 2009.

AMR expects mainline capacity in the first quarter of 2010 to decrease by 2.8 percent compared to the first quarter of 2009, with domestic capacity expected to be down 1.7 percent and international capacity expected to be down 4.5 percent compared to first quarter 2009 levels. AMR expects consolidated capacity in the first quarter of 2010 to decrease by 2.6 percent compared to the first quarter of 2009.

Fuel Expense and Hedging

While the cost of jet fuel has been increasing recently and remains volatile, based on the Jan. 8 forward curve, AMR is planning for an average system price of $2.36 per gallon in the first quarter of 2010 and $2.42 per gallon for all of 2010.

AMR has 30 percent of its anticipated first quarter 2010 fuel consumption hedged at an average cap of $2.55 per gallon of jet fuel equivalent ($97 per barrel crude equivalent), with 27 percent subject to an average floor of $1.84 per gallon of jet fuel equivalent ($67 per barrel crude equivalent). AMR has 24 percent of its anticipated full-year consumption hedged at an average cap of $2.48 per gallon of jet fuel equivalent ($93 per barrel crude equivalent), with 22 percent subject to an average floor of $1.80 per gallon of jet fuel equivalent ($65 per barrel crude equivalent).

As of Jan. 8, the average 2010 market forward price of crude oil was more than $85 per barrel. Consolidated consumption for the first quarter is expected to be 662 million gallons of jet fuel.

Mainline and Consolidated Cost per Available Seat Mile (CASM) – Excluding Impact of Special Items




1Q2010 (est.) vs. 1Q2009

H/(L)

Full year 2010 (est.) vs. 2009

H/(L)

Mainline

   9.6%

   5.9%


Excluding Fuel

5.1

1.4

Consolidated

9.4

5.9


Excluding Fuel

4.5

1.1



All of the expected 1.1 percent increase in consolidated cost per seat mile, excluding fuel, for 2010 is due to anticipated higher revenue-related expenses (such as booking fees and commissions) and financing costs related to Boeing 737-800 and other aircraft to be delivered in 2009 and 2010. However, 737-800 aircraft are 35 percent more fuel efficient on a seat-mile basis than the MD-80s they are replacing and mainline fuel efficiency for 2010 is expected to be better by over 2 percent versus last year.

 
Source = PRNewswire / AMR Corporation
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