Airline Industry Fixed Itself: USAir CEO

Doug Parker, Chairman & CEO, US Airways
Doug Parker, Chairman & CEO, US Airways

On the heels of US Airways' upbeat second-quarter earnings and its first profit in three years, Doug Parker, the airline's chairman and CEO, told CNBC the industry has used “self-help” to turn a profit and make headway with problems.

“I’m happy to report that, without having to go back to the government and ask for bailouts like other industries did, we [the airline industry] fixed it ourselves,” said Parker.

“Our industry did a very good job of doing what an industry is supposed to do, take self-help measures and return to profitability.”

Parker said the mix of passengers, led by more business travelers, capacity containment, cost-saving measures and new customer fees contributed to his company's rosy picture.

USAir's comeback has also affected employment at the airline , which recently announced it would hire 300 flight attendants and pilots. It is the sixth-largest US airline, based on traffic.

USAir earned $279 million in the second quarter. The quarter’s revenue rose more than 19 percent to $3.17 billion. The airline’s profit turned out to be $1.41 a share.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters forecast a profit of $1.18 per share on revenue of $3.15 billion.

The $279 million net profit is USAir's second-highest quarterly profit since it merged with America West five years ago.

Parker said that while the passenger ticket sales bring in the most revenue, baggage charges give USAir between $400 million and $500 million a year.

He characterized the new financial regulation legislation as “moderately positive” for the airline industry.

“We believe it [the law] will take some of the volatility from excess speculation at times,” he said, “and it won’t affect our ability to hedge.”