American Airlines Group Inc (NASDAQ:AAL) shares are trading higher in the pre-market trading on Friday after the company reported its financial numbers for the fourth quarter. Its earnings, as well as, the top line came in better than the expected levels. Generally, the airlines sector performed better than expected in the fourth quarter.
American Airlines Group’s top line advanced 1.7 percent driven by 40 basis points improvement in total available seat miles (ASMs). The company’s TRASM grew 1.3 percent to 14.90 cents in the fourth quarter. This is the first year-over-year growth after the fourth quarter of 2014.
The company’s regional passenger segment recorded 4.1 percent uptick whereas others contributed to the revenue growth. Cargo witnessed 1.3 percent uptick. However, mainline passenger revenue dragged down 30 basis points.
The Airline firm’s total operating costs grew 5.4 percent to $9.0 billion in the December quarter. This was attributed to a 17.4 percent jump in salaries, as well as, benefits expense that included the recent labor deals.
The company’s mainline cost per available seat mile (CASM) increased 5.7 percent to 12.93 cents on 70 basis points drop in mainline ASMs from the year-ago period. On an adjusted basis, mainline CASM increased 10.3 percent to 10.17 cents.
American Airlines Group revealed that it returned about $606 million to its shareholders through dividend and share repurchases in the fourth quarter. As a result, the airliner completed its $2 billion share buyback program.
Following this, the company’s board has given its approval for a fresh $2.0 billion share buyback authorization, which would end in December 2018.
At time of writing this, the stock is trading up 2.94 percent in the pre-market trading.