US Airways sees possible Q4 demand improvements

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US Airways sees business travel demand rebounding to levels seen earlier this year in the fourth quarter.

Scott Kirby, president of the Tempe, Arizona-based airline, says that he expects that business demand will return from its current low to the levels that it saw in March and April by the fourth quarter based on the continuing strength of leisure demand, at the 2012 Dahlman Rose Global Transportation Conference in New York today.

"We're set-up for a demand environment that can improve in the fourth quarter," says Kirby. "We're cautiously optimistic."

Current demand is on par with the second quarter, he says.

US Airways' passenger revenue per available seat mile grew 1% year-on-year in August and is expected to be up between 0% and 2% in September, says Kirby.

Trans-Atlantic passenger demand is one market that US Airways expects to improve, despite Europe's continuing economic malaise. Kirby says that the airline is doing well at capturing Europe originating traffic, which has pushed the mix of passengers on its flights to 55% from the USA and 45% from Europe.

Kirby adds that the improving traffic on its north Atlantic flights is largely due to capturing business travel from other airlines. He estimates that there is a mix of 60% leisure and 40% business travellers on the flights.