America West Holdings Corp., parent of No. 8 U.S. carrier America West Airlines, on Wednesday said it lost $31.7 million in the third quarter as a sharp travel slump slashed sales.

The Phoenix-based airline, which cut flights and jobs after the Sept. 11 attacks, said the loss amounted to 94 cents per share, compared with a profit $1.3 million, or 4 cents per share, a year earlier. 

Excluding $60 million in federal grants, America West said its loss was $69.2 million, or $2.05 per share, in the latest quarter. 

Prior to Sept. 11 many analysts had expected the carrier to post its first profit since the second quarter of 2000. 

America West said its operating revenues fell about 17 percent, to $491.4 million from $591 million a year earlier.