AMR , the parent company of American Airlines, said it swung to a fourth-quarter profit, aided by a cheaper fuel bill, and reported its first annual profit since before the 2001 terrorist attacks.
AMR, also the parent of regional carrier American Eagle, reported a quarterly profit of $17 million, or 7 cents a share, compared with a prior-year loss of $600 million, or $3.46 a share. Revenue grew to $5.4 billion from $5.17 billion.
Wall Street, on average, had been expecting a quarterly loss of 13 cents a share on revenue of $5.5 billion, according to a Thomson Financial poll of analysts.
AMR's stock rose on the news, and like other airline stocks has rallied recently on lower oil prices.
The company had warned investors last month that higher maintenance expenses and
weather-related flight cancellations in November and December would hurt quarterly results.
But the company reported its aircraft fuel expenses fell in the fourth quarter to $1.45 billion from $1.59 billion, as overall operating expenses fell 6% to $5.21 billion.
For the full year, AMR reported earnings of $231 million, or 98 cents a share, compared with a prior-year loss of $857 million, or $5.18 per share.
"By producing a fourth quarter and full year profit for the first time since 2000, the people of American Airlines made 2006 a proud milestone in our ongoing turnaround," AMR Chairman and CEO Gerard Arpey said in a statement.