ARLINGTON, Va. – US Airways (UAIR) could break even in the second quarter, but was cautious about full year results, the airline's chief executive said Friday in a Securities and Exchange Commission (search) filing.
"We haven't yet closed the books on the second quarter, but it looks like there may even be a chance that we break even," said Bruce Lakefield.
He quickly offered a caveat: "While that's a glimmer of good news, remember that the second quarter is traditionally US Airways' strongest, and we count on it to help carry us through the year."
Lakewood said the outlook for the year was "clouded."
"If we don't get labor cost reductions we have targeted, combined with the effects of abnormally high fuel prices and expansion of low-cost competition, we could see losses in the third and fourth quarters ...," he said.
US Airways is in the middle of its third attempt in two years to reduce operating costs, and says its goal is to slash $1.5 billion a year through changes in its flight patterns, cuts in payroll and changes in work rules.
The company had not given specific guidance on its results, but in an April conference call to discuss first quarter results, a newly-installed Lakefield said the cuts were needed to return the airline to profitability in 2005 and avoid defaults on loans.
In July 2003, US Airways posted a $13 million profit for its first quarter after emerging from bankruptcy protection, bolstered by a $214 million government handout. Without the windfall, the company posed a pre-tax loss of $154 million.
The Arlington air carrier is the nation's seventh-largest airline. It emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2003 but has been under tremendous pressure since May, when Southwest began offering flights in Philadelphia, one of US Airways' major hubs.
Shares of US Airways closed down 8 cents, or 3.5 percent, at $2.22 Friday on the New York Stock Exchange (search).