After merger, American's cash pile tops $10B

Company formed by merger of American and US Airways sits on $10.3 billion cash stockpile

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) -- The newly combined American Airlines and US Airways ended last year with $10.3 billion in cash.

American Airlines Group Inc. said in a filing Wednesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission that only about $1 billion of that cash and investments was restricted.

A year earlier, when they were separate companies, American and US Airways had about $7 billion in cash and equivalents including about $1 billion in restricted amounts, according to filings. At the end of September, they had more than $11.5 billion in cash — airlines often generate cash in the busy summer and spend it down in fall and winter.

"A nice problem to have: excess liquidity," said J.P. Morgan analyst Jamie Baker. He wrote in a note to clients that the cash equals about one-fourth of the airlines' revenue over the past 12 months and suggested that American could eventually use cash to pay down debt or reward shareholders.


The new company, formed by last month's merger, is the world's biggest airline operator. It is expected to report fourth-quarter results in late January. Analysts surveyed by FactSet expect earnings of 52 cents per share on revenue of $9.33 billion.

The company said that American ended 2013 with 622 planes while US Airways had 343. Those figures don't include smaller jets at regional-flying affiliates such as American Eagle.

American Airlines shares slipped 16 cents to $28.71 in afternoon trading.