Editor’s note: When deciding to do an earnings recap for the fourth quarter I choose to do just the top 5 largest airlines in the U.S. along with Boeing. I don’t pay too much attention to earnings because I find them to be relatively mundane but I think that by showing how the biggest airlines are doing financially it gives you a pretty good indication of how the industry is doing as a whole.
If the first round of fourth quarter earnings proved that demand for air travel in the United States was on the rise, the company’s that reported their earnings during the week ending on Friday, January 28th, reaffirmed the growing sentiment that the airlines have finally turned a corner after years of rampant costs and lower demand. There is still plenty of uncertainty in the industry and many of the major airlines are still posting losses but the news seems to be trending more and more positive.
This week, two more major airlines reported earnings along with Boeing, the world’s second largest commercial plane maker.
United Continental: The parent company of the newly-merged airline between United and Continental reported a loss of $325 million for the quarter which was roughly equivalent to the same quarter the year prior. United Continental’s stock was up nearly 7 percent after the announcement as investors appeared encouraged that the company was able to maintain the previous year’s numbers despite the large initial costs associated with merging two airlines together.
US Airways: Tempe, Airz. based US Airways posted its first fourth quarter profit since 2006 ($28 million) according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Overall, 2010 was the second best year in terms of profit for US Airways in the company’s history. US Airways rose 7 precent on Wednesday after its results were announced but those numbers eased downward by the end of the week.
Boeing: The American plane maker recorded a profit of $.1.16 billion for the fourth quarter which was just shy of the profit it recorded for the same quarter last year. The company also predicted that earnings would be lower than analysts had expected this year due to the much-delayed 787 and defense budget cuts by the U.S. government. The company’s conference call drew attention in commercial aviation circles as Boeing CEO Jim McNerney suggested the company was prepared to launch a new plane to replace the 737 instead of upgrading the company’s most popular plane.