April 14, 2009

US Airways says it well positioned

US Airways Chief Executive Officer Doug Parker said the U.S. carrier had its house in order and could withstand a year of falling revenue.

We think we've got our house in order well enough that we could still be profitable, even with a 15 percent drop in revenue this year, Parker told USA Today.

The airline has improved service from a near-bottom ranking in on-time arrivals, baggage handling and customer complaints two years ago to a ranking near the top of the list.

To survive the sharp drop in travel, US Airways cut its seating capacity 10 percent from a year ago. It is also earning $160 million a year in new charges, such as fees for checking bags, the newspaper said.

Among its top worries, the company's stock values have fallen 93 percent in the past two years, low-cost carrier Southwest Airlines has made inroads in key the markets of New York and Philadelphia and its 5,000 pilots have still not settled seniority issues resulting from the 2005 merger of America West Airlines and US Airways.

Fuel costs are out of the carrier's hands. As well, the current economic climate make a merger in the near term highly unlikely, the newspaper said.