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American Airlines expects to post 3Q profit on federal aid

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FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — American Airlines expects to ramp up for the holidays and operate a busier schedule than it flew during the peak summer vacation season.

The airline said Tuesday that it will operate more than 6,100 flights on the busiest days around the holidays.

American gave the outlook in a regulatory filing in which it also said it expects to post a profit in the third quarter due to federal pandemic relief. The airline expects a loss of $620 million to $675 million excluding the federal help.

The airline said third-quarter revenue will be down about 25% from the same period in 2019. That is a slightly better than American’s previous forecast of a decline between 24% to 28% compared with two years ago.

The shares gained less than 1% in midday trading.

Air travel in the U.S. has recovered to nearly 80% of the pre-pandemic level, although revenue is down more dramatically because lucrative business travel is lagging. American’s aggressive schedule for the Christmas period reflects expectations that leisure travel will remain strong.

Airlines measure passenger-carrying capacity by multiplying the number of seats by the miles flown. By that measure, American flew 61.1 billion seat miles in the third quarter. It expects to fly 62.2 billion seat miles in the fourth quarter.

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