American Airlines made a $127 million profit in 2022 as surging expenses offset what was a record year of revenue for the Fort Worth-based carrier.

Expenses soared to $47.4 billion last year, up 53% on 2021, American reported on 26 January.

Fuel costs more than doubled year on year to $13.8 billion, while maintenance expenses jumped 36% to $2.7 billion, and employee salaries and wages increased 9.8% to $13 billion.

American A321 N114NN incident-c-Eric Salard Creative Commons

Source: Eric Salard Creative Commons

In addition, the cost of operating its regional airline unit jumped up 41% year on year to $4.1 billion, despite the carrier and its regional partners operated only 7% more flights in 2022 than in 2021.

But booming revenue helped to offset the additional costs: American generated $49 billion in operating revenue last year – up 64% on 2021 – more than in any year in its history.

By comparison, in pre-pandemic 2019 American brought in operating revenue of $45.8 billion, though that year it turned a $1.7 billion profit.

American’s $127 million full-year profit in 2022 follows a $2 billion loss in 2021.

“As we turn our attention to 2023, we will continue to prioritise reliability, profitability and debt reduction,” American chief executive Robert Isom says.

American’s cargo division actually shrunk last year in revenue terms, bringing in $1.2 billion, down 6.2% year on year, although passengers revenues jumped 71% year on year to $44.6 billion.

American turned an $803 million profit in the fourth quarter, reversing its $931 million loss in the same period of 2021.