NEW YORK US Airways (LCC) said net income doubled in the fourth quarter as its planes were fuller and it made more money off each passenger.
The airline on Wednesday reported a profit of $37 million, or 22 cents per share, compared with $18 million, or 11 cents per share a year ago. Excluding special items, net income was 26 cents per share, 7 cents higher than analyst forecasts, according to FactSet.
Revenue rose 3.9 percent to $3.28 billon.
Per-seat passenger revenue - a key performance indicator for airlines - rose 2.2 percent. Occupancy rose 2 percentage points to 83.9 percent.
US Airways is in merger talks with American Airlines, but didn't address the talks in its earnings release.
Some have assumed that as the fifth-biggest U.S. airline, US Airways needs the American merger to survive. J.P. Morgan (JPM) analyst Jamie Baker wrote in a note to investors Wednesday that he disagrees.
"With 2012 margins just shy of Delta while topping those of Southwest and United, we find investor stand-alone pessimism to be significantly misplaced," he wrote.
Shares of Tempe, Ariz.-based US Airways Group rose 30 cents, or 2 percent, to $15.15 in morning trading.
For the full year, net income jumped to $637 million, or $3.28 per share - the largest profit in the airline's history, the company said. In 2011 it earned $71 million, or 44 cents per share. Revenue for 2012 rose almost 6 percent to $13.83 billion.
While United (UAL) and Delta (DAL) have been flying about the same or less, US Airways added a little bit of flying last year. Flying capacity rose 1.4 percent in the fourth quarter, and 2 percent for the full year.
"We couldn't be happier with the performance of US Airways in 2012," Chairman and CEO Doug Parker said in a statement.