U.S. Airways Profit Falls 14% but Results Still Top Forecasts

U.S. Airways said Thursday its second-quarter profit fell 14% on higher maintenance and other expenses, but results topped Wall Street's expectations and the carrier began recalling furloughed flight attendants and pilots.

Quarterly earnings dropped to $263 million, or $2.77 per share, from $305 million, or $3.25 per share, in the prior-year period. Excluding special items, the airline earned $2.74 per share in the recent quarter.

Wall Street, on average, expected quarterly earnings of $2.64 per share, according to a Thomson Financial analyst survey.

Shares fell $2.12, more than 6%, to $32.72 at the open of trading Thursday.

Revenue slipped to $3.16 billion from $3.17 billion on weaker revenue from its cargo and express units, but matched analysts' expectations.

"Although high fuel prices will continue to have a material financial impact on our company, we are encouraged by the strengthening revenue environment and industry capacity outlook," Chairman and Chief Executive Doug Parker said in a statement. "Looking forward, we maintain our projections of profitability for the third quarter and full-year 2007."

Unit passenger revenue -- a key industry gauge of revenue divided by capacity -- across US Airways' mainline and express fleets grew by 0.2%, while mainline unit costs rose by 2.6%.

Among US Airways' increased costs, aircraft maintenance expenses rose to $170 million from $153 million due to the return of leased aircraft and other items.