US Airways Adds Cash for the Next Couple Winters, Defers Airplanes

Last Updated Nov 27, 2009 10:07 AM EST

I hope our US readers had a nice Thanksgiving yesterday. Certainly the financial whizzes at US Airways (LCC) must have had a particularly satisfying meal yesterday. First they bulked up their airline with cash on Tuesday, and then they bulked up themselves with turkey.

I'm guessing everyone here is more interested in the former than the latter. In actuality, very little of this is new money being raised but rather a reduction in expenses. The move is centered around the deferral of aircraft deliveries for the foreseeable future.

Fifty four airplanes that were supposed to be delivered between 2010 and 2012 will now be deferred to 2013 and beyond. That leaves 28 airplanes to still be delivered between 2010 and 2012. Also, the A350XWB will first be delivered in 2017 instead of 2015. If I were US Airways, I would have just waited until Airbus delayed those deliveries (I don't know of any delays, but it's a new aircraft launch, so I just assume) and then demanded compensation, but I digress.

These moves will save $132 million in short and medium term obligations. Capital expenditures of $2.5 billion will be avoided over the next three years. (Of course, they'll have to pay those down the line.)

So does mean that they're going to shrink? Nope. The plan is to just keep older aircraft in the fleet for longer. Then when the new planes do arrive, then they'll retire the older ones.

They made a couple other deals as well, but the upshot is that fewer new airplanes means less money flowing out and more money in the bank. Enjoy that turkey, guys.