- The Washington Times - Friday, January 18, 2002

US Airways lost $1.01 billion in the past three months of 2001, its worst quarter ever, even though the airline resumed partial operations at its Washington hub, Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.
The loss, which amounts to $14.89 per share, follows third-quarter losses of $766 million, or $11.42 per share. For the year, the company lost $1.97 billion, or $29.28 per share, on revenue of $8.29 billion.
"US Airways' results reflect the impact of the economic recession, the tragic events of September 11 and increasing regional jet competition," US Airways Chairman and CEO Stephen Wolf said in a statement yesterday.
Excluding one-time items, the company reported losses of $552 million, or $8.16 per share. That was worse than the consensus estimate of analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial/First Call, who predicted a loss of $7.54 per share.
Wall Street responded by sending US Airways shares down 41 cents a share to close at $5.20 on the New York Stock exchange.
A year ago, shares traded as high as $46.44.
Other airlines reporting quarterly results this week also posted losses, but none as big as US Airways. AMR Corp., the parent of American Airlines, lost $798 million, or $5.17 a share. Northwest and Continental Airlines reported smaller losses, and low-cost carrier Southwest reported a $64 million profit.
US Airways had been struggling even before September 11, as federal regulators rejected the company's merger with United Airlines. After September 11, all the airlines posted heavy financial losses, but US Airways, of Arlington, bore an extra burden from the prolonged closure of Reagan Airport, where the airline is the largest single carrier.
The airport did not reopen until Oct. 4, and the Department of Transportation continues to restrict the number of flights there. US Airways currently operates at 45 percent of its pre-September 11 capacity at the airport; it hopes to reach 82 percent by March.
Despite the heavy losses, the company completed the fourth quarter with larger cash reserves. It began the quarter with $1.04 billion and ended with $1.08 billion, thanks to a $404 million financing deal arranged in November.
While the company went through about $7 million in cash each day in the fourth quarter, it expects to lose only $3 million in cash daily during the first quarter. By April, cash flow will turn positive, company officials said.

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