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Profit drops 6% at US Airways

But as carrier prepares for American Airlines merger, 2Q results beat expectations

US Airways said its second-quarter profit fell 6 percent compared to the same quarter a year ago. But the company still beat Wall Street expectations as the airline heads into its merger with American Airlines.

US Airways Group Inc. said Wednesday that profit was $287 million, or $1.40 per share, in the April-June quarter. That’s down from $306 million, or $1.54 per share, last year. The company blamed an $85 million income tax provision that was triggered as it used up an allowance for operating losses carried over from previous years.

Revenue rose 3 percent to $3.87 billion. Fuel costs fell 4 percent but labor costs rose by a similar percentage. Total operating expenses increased 1 percent.

US Airways shares closed at $18.50, up 45 cents.

Company CEO Doug Parker said his airline’s second-quarter performance “provides excellent momentum as we transition into the new American Airlines. The teams are working very well together and we continue to expect to close the merger in the third quarter.”

Antitrust regulators at the Justice Department are still reviewing the merger, which would create the world’s biggest airline. It would keep the American name but be led by Parker and most of his executive team.

Parker has been trying to head off the possibility that the Justice Department could try to force the companies to give up takeoff and landing slots at busy Reagan National Airport outside Washington.

The combined company would be easily the biggest carrier there, but Parker has argued that United, Delta and Southwest were more dominant at key airports after their mergers, which the regulators allowed to go through.

The federal judge overseeing American’s bankruptcy is scheduled to rule Aug. 15 on the merger plan.

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