Who’s ugly?

Admittedly, I’m a little behind in examining US 2Q earnings. I was with my colleagues at Flightglobal covering the Farnborough Air Show when the rare positive news hit that most carriers turned profits. Some of those airlines haven’t rested in the black since 2007.

I’m working on a larger piece about 2Q earnings so I’m trolling through calls and transcripts trying to get a sense of how carriers view the current environment.

blog single.jpgReading over US Airways’ discussion I started thinking about all the attention over how the carrier was “less attractive” than Continental as a merger partner for United. I won’t revisit that comment, but I will say that US Airways for the moment seems to be enjoying the single life.

Obviously United and Continental turned strong quarterly performance, but US Airways was no shrinking violet. It posted it first profit excluding special charges since 2007 and the second highest since the merger of US Airways and America West since 2005. 

US Airways predicts continuing its profitability streak for the third quarter and all of 2010. And although the carrier’s managment is one of the most bullish carriers on consolidation, for the moment it appears to be on solid solo footing.

Asked by JP Morgan analyst Jamie Baker if the overall free cash flow being generated in the industry will “coke someone off the wagon” into rouge growth Parker stresses, “I assure you it won’t be us. For reasons that defy logic, every now and then when people start to make money in this business they seem to think it makes sense to go out and add more airplanes as if that will allow them to make even more money.”

While US Airways is thankful for turn in financial tides, Parker is realistic that one positive quarter doesn’t ensure a long-term viable business model. He admits a lot of work remains to “make certain we get better.”

It doesnt’ look like this spurned lover it grieving too hard about United leaving it at the altar.  

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