- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 21, 2009

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - US Airways Group Inc. reports its first-quarter earnings Thursday. The following is a summary of key developments and analyst opinion related to the period.

OVERVIEW: Last month US Airways executives said they could turn a profit this year, even if passenger revenue falls 15 percent. Their first quarter will be the first look at whether that’s possible.

On Thursday the Air Transport Association said passenger revenue fell 23 percent in March versus the same month in 2008. Traffic on U.S. airlines fell 10 percent. US Airways has said that it is hurt less than its competitors by falling corporate travel, because business travel is a smaller part of its mix of flights.

BY THE NUMBERS: Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expect, on average, US Airways will lose $2.38 per share on revenue of $2.5 billion.

ANALYST TAKE: Majestic Research analyst Matthew Jacob estimated that US Airways consolidated operating revenue could be $2.41 billion to $2.45 billion during the first quarter, which would be down as much as 15 percent from the same period last year, and lower than other analysts forecast.

WHAT’S AHEAD: US Airways and other airlines appear to have been attempting small fare increases in recent weeks, but the jury is out on whether they’ll stick as demand continues to be soft.

STOCK PERFORMANCE: US Airways shares closed on Monday at $3.58 after March lows around $2. Over the past 52 weeks they’ve traded between $1.45 and $11.24.

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