American Airlines, one of three major US airlines, has reported what it described as a “record” second quarter (Q2) of 2023. The corporation said increased passenger demand and American’s operational proficiency helped it achieve a nearly 5% revenue increase year-on-year. 

According to its Q2 report, American made a quarterly revenue of $14.1bn, with a net income of $1.3bn. Its operating margin was 15.4%.  

The results come amid a flurry of positive Q2 reports from large international airlines, producing further evidence of aviation’s recovery from the Covid-19-induced slump of the past three years. 

American’s CEO Robert Isom said in a statement that the airline’s investment in its fleet was partly behind the growth: “Our operation is performing at historically strong levels and we have worked to refresh our fleet and build a comprehensive global network, all of which helped to produce record revenues in the second quarter. 

“We will build on this momentum the rest of the year and continue to prioritise reliability, profitability, accountability and strengthening our balance sheet.”

The carrier described revenues of $14.1bn as a “record” for its quarterly earnings and explained a boost to bookings around Memorial Day weekend and into June had pushed its yield upwards. 

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Domestic and short-haul international demand was steady but a big increase in long-haul international was “noticeable”. This claim was borne out in the figures, as revenue passenger miles increased by 4.4% in Q2 and a full 10% across the first half (H1) of 2023 compared to the same period in 2022. 

Although this growth also meant a foreseeable increase in fuel consumption, the favourable oil sector price movements in the past six months have lessened the impact on expenditure. While H1 consumption increased by six points, this was offset by a 14.8% drop in post-tax fuel prices. 

The passenger and demand growth has allowed American to extend its debt-cutting promise, which it described in its filing as a “top priority”. At the end of Q2, American reported a debt reduction of $9.4bn from its peak in mid-2021. That’s nearly two-thirds of its stated target of a $15bn reduction by 2025 end-of-year statements. 

The figures cited in this report are yet to be audited.