US Airways returns 767s to fleet plan

Washington DC
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US Airways has returned three Boeing 767-200ERs to its fleet plan through the end of the year, reversing its stance on removing the ageing aircraft.

The aircraft will be in the Tempe, Arizona-based carrier’s fleet at the end of the year – maintaining a total of 10 – based on a fleet plan that was released today. Investors were first advised of plans to remove the three aircraft in April.

US Airways declines to comment on why the aircraft have returned to its fleet plan but says that the plan changes all the time.

Derek Kerr, chief financial officer of US Airways, said in April that it had decided to remove the aircraft because of their age and not because of a then-weakening demand environment.

Capacity guidance for the full year remains the same at 77.4 million available seat miles (ASM), though it is down less than 1% to 18.7 million ASMs in the fourth quarter from previous guidance, the investor update today shows.

During the third quarter, capacity is still expected to increase by 3.5% and costs per available seat mile (CASM) excluding fuel and special items by 1% to 3% compared to the same period in 2012.

Average fuel expenses are expected to be $3 to $3.05 per gallon in the quarter, which is up from previous guidance of an average of $2.98 to $3.03 per gallon.

US Airways has reported passenger revenue per available seat mile (PRASM) increases of about 6% in September, about 5% in August and about 5% in July, indicating the unit revenue metric may be up 5% to 6% during the third quarter.

PRASM fell 0.9% during the second quarter due to slack demand at the beginning of the quarter that is partially attributable to US federal government budget cuts known as the sequester.