Charlotte’s largest airline has reported lower net income for the third quarter compared to the same period a year ago. U.S. Airways says it made $216 million in the quarter. That’s down from $245 million last year. But the airline says it made a record pre-tax profit of nearly $370 million this quarter. Speaking during a conference call with analysts Wednesday, U.S. Airways president Scott Kirby was asked if the strong earnings undercuts the pending merger with American Airlines, which last week also reported record profits.
“Strong companies merge all the time,” Kirby said. “And the point of this merger is ‘we will be stronger, we will be able to attract more customers, we will be able to offer more benefits to customers if we’re allowed to merge. The fact that we’re currently making profits doesn’t change that anyway whatsoever.”
The merger of U.S. and American would create the largest airline in the country. The U.S. Justice Department has sued to block the merger arguing it would lead to less competition and higher fares. A trial on the lawsuit is set to begin in about a month.