Airlines Post Significant Losses

Last year's soaring fuel prices and economic recession have had devastating consequences for the airline industry. Both U.S. Airways Group and Continental Airlines posted quarterly losses on
Thursday. 

U.S. Airways reported a fourth-quarter net loss of $541 million, or $4.74 per share, compared with a loss of $79 million, or 87 cents per share, a year earlier. Excluding one-time items totaling $321 million, the company reported a loss of $220 million, or $1.93 per share. The airline said its quarterly net loss increased as it wrote down lost value of its fuel hedges. U.S. Airways also said its revenue fell 0.6 percent to $2.76 billion. 

Continental Airlines lost money on fuel-hedging contracts as well, but other losses resulted from pension payments made to pilots taking early retirement due to a decreased flight schedule.

Continental said its fourth-quarter net loss widened to $266 million, or $2.33 per share, from $32 million, or 33 cents per share, a year earlier. Not including one-time items, the airline reported a loss of 84 cents per share.

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